In the wee hours of Tuesday morning, Dallas Seavey and his dog team came running down front to claim victory in this year’s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race and he set a new race record.
The younger Seavey finished less than an hour ahead of his father.
Although his team was small at only six dogs, Dallas Seavey was able to shave time from the previous race record – one he set back in 2014.
“I was kind of surprised to see how fast the time was, but I had it in the back of my mind that this just might be a record breaker and if any dog deserves it it’s this team right here,” he said.
This is Seavey’s fourth win in five years.
“You know, that’s the funny thing is everybody has been asking ‘are you gonna go for five? Are you gonna go for six?’” Seavey said. “And I was like, ‘I just won my first Iditarod.’ Then after the second one, I said that’s a long ways off. Coming in tonight, I was thinking it might be time to start thinking about number five now.”
After an awards ceremony that included a $75,000 check and a new pickup truck, Seavey left the finish line for a few minutes – long enough to grab a cup of coffee, before his father and two-time champion Mitch Seavey drove his dog team under the burled arch that marks the finish line of the 1000 mile race.
Dallas: “I had fun out there.”
Mitch: “You did?”
Dallas: “Well, racing with you.”
Mitch: “Yeah, it was fun being together at places.”
The elder Seavey didn’t talk nearly as much about his own race as he did about his son’s.
“Dallas is a believer,” he said. “If it’s out there to be achieved, he thinks it’s already his and usually he turns out to be right.”
Mitch Seavey drove a team of young, inexperienced dogs. He struggled to find leaders throughout his race, but at the finish line his wife Janine reminded him of his accomplishment.
Mitch: “I’d like to have won – should’ve, could’ve. If, if, if; if, ifs and buts. But, leaders …”
Janine: “But look what you did without the leaders. It’s just incredible.”
Mitch: “I just did what Conway says. If you don’t have leaders, just don’t put any up there.”
Conway is another of Mitch Seavey’s sons.
(Graphic by Hanna Craig/Alaska Public Media)
Between the two of them, Mitch and Dallas Seavey have 20 top-10 finishes.
Now, they also now have a handful of new dogs to add to their mix of trail-hardened, experienced sled dogs that are likely to prove dominant in the mushing scene for many years to come.