The Finishers Banquet took place Sunday afternoon in Nome. Rookie Christine Roalofs was off the trail in time to receive her Red Lantern Award, the award given to the Iditarod’s last place finisher. “As a former volunteer who used to stand here in Nome at these banquets and watch the finishers get up here and accept their awards, I’m just as honored as I could ever be to be one of you guys,” Roalofs told the hall of mushers, race officials, and veterinarians.
Upon receiving his GCI Dorothy G. Page Halfway Award for first musher into the Iditarod checkpoint, Lance Mackey joked that he would use some of the $3,000 in placer gold nuggets awarded to him to replace his missing front tooth. Mackey broke the tooth on the trail while biting into a piece of fudge. He more seriously added that he would buy his girlfriend some earrings.
It was the third time Mackey won the Halfway Award.
In addition to the seven-course meal Martin Buser enjoyed in Anvik as part of his Millennium Alaskan Hotel First Musher to the Yukon Award, the veteran musher was presented with a tray of $3,500 in one-dollar bills and a bottle of Dom Perignon.“I’m very much looking forward to ending my sober streak which started at Thanksgiving,” Buser said.
Receiving his Wells Fargo Bank Alaska Gold Coast Award, which he won for being first into Unalakleet, Mitch Seavey quipped, “I understand that when I arrived in Unalakleet I was supposed to be Aaron Burmeister.”
Burmeister led for much of the stretch from Kaltag to Unalakleet before Seavey overtook him, just beating Burmeister into the checkpoint.
Seavey received a trophy and $2,500 in gold nuggets for reaching the Bering Sea Coast checkpoint first, a nice addition to the $50,400 and brand new Dodge Ram truck he won for winning Iditarod XLI.
Here’s a listing of the awards presented at Sunday’s banquet. Looking at some of the checkpoint awards, it’s interesting to note how often the lead changed throughout the race.
Pen Air Spirit of Alaska Award (first musher to McGrath checkpoint) – Aaron Burmeister
GCI Dorothy G. Page Halfway Award (first musher to Iditarod checkpoint)– Lance Mackey
Millennium Alaskan Hotel First Musher to the Yukon Award (first musher to Anvik checkpoint) – Martin Buser
Wells Fargo Bank Alaska Gold Coast Award (first musher to Unalakleet checkpoint) – Mitch Seavey
Anchorage Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Winner’s Truck Award (Iditarod XLI winner)– Mitch Seavey
Wells Fargo Bank Winner’s Purse (Iditarod XLI winner) – Mitch Seavey
ExxonMobil Mushers Choice Award – Mike Williams, Sr.
Alaska Airlines Leonhard Seppala Humanitarian Award – Jake Berkowitz
Horizon Lines Most Improved Musher Award – Nicolas Petit
Northern Air Cargo Herbie Nayokpuk Memorial Award – Mikhail Telpin
Sportsmanship Award –Cim Smyth
City of Nome Lolly Medley Golden Harness Award Winner – Tanner, Mitch Seavey’s lead dog
Nome Kennel Club Fastest Time from Safety to Nome Award – Ramey Smyth, 2 hours 19 minutes
Jerry Austin Rookie of the Year – Joar Leifseth Ulsom
Northern Air Cargo Four Wheeler Drawing Winner – Anna Berington
Golden Clipboard Award (presented to best checkpoint) – Ophir
Golden Stethoscope Award (presented to best veterinarians) – Dr. Sterling Thomas & Dr. Dirsko von Pfeil
Red Lantern (last place finisher) – Christine Roalofs