This could be a Seavey year in the Iditarod. Mitch and Dallas Seavey have stayed out front, along with a few others, through the halfway point. Mitch Seavey was the first to reach the Yukon River at Ruby. Here is how it rolled out. Veteran musher Jim Lanier put off his mandatory 24 hour layover and collected the halfway gold nuggets at Cripple. Mitch Seavey nearly caught up with him. Aliy Zirkle decided not to rest in Cripple when she arrived four hours later and blasted on ahead, the first to leave Cripple. In between were Trent Herbst, not having taken his 24, Dallas Seavey, John Baker and Jeff King.
Zirkle had rested for several hours some miles before Cripple. Mitch Seavey made the whole run of close to a hundred miles, stopping only for snacks – big snacks. He had a rest of almost 5 hours when he followed Zirkle out.
One Iditarod tradition is noticeably absent from Ruby this year, and much missed: the elaborate gourmet meal presented to the first musher to reach the Yukon. The long-time sponsor of the award, the Millenium Hotel, chose not to serve the meal on site, but to present it in Anchorage at a time of the musher’s choice.
Billy Honea is the head checker in Ruby. He says he will miss the opportunity to enjoy a not-so-intimate dinner date with one of his favorite mushers in front of friends, neighbors and the media.
“I don’t know, I wish somebody would have taken it over. I was expecting maybe DeeDee Jonrowe would come in and I could eat dinner with her. And it’s not going to happen this year.”
The Millenium Hotel had cooked a multi-course at either Ruby or Anvik every year since the early 80s.