Baker completes 18th Iditarod
Kotzebue's John Baker was No. 21 into Nome in this year's Last Great Race, his 18th Iditarod in as many years. Baker crossed the finish with 12 dogs, coming in just before 1 p.m. last Wednesday. Winner Mitch Seavey and runner-up Aliy Zirkle finished their race late the night before.
While the 2011 Iditarod champion and race record holder is used to top-ten finishes, Baker was in good company as he came across the line. He followed former champion Lance Mackey and frequent top-ten competitor Ramey Smyth.
Awards were handed out Sunday at the Iditarod banquet, including the Rookie of the Year title, which went to Norweigan competitor Joar Leifseth Ulsom. The 26-year-old came in at No. 7 in Iditarod 2013.
Jake Burkowitz took home the Alaska Airlines Leonhard Seppala Humanitarian Award, recognizing the Big Lake musher's quality dog care. Burkowitz finished at No. 8 with 15 of his 16 starting dogs. He had four more dogs than any mushers who finished in the top 20.
PenAir's Spirit of Alaska Award went to Aaron Burmeister.
The Golden Harness Award went to Mitch Seavey's lead dog Tanner, who led solo for much of the race.
Nicolas Petit took home the award for most improved musher, and Cim Smyth was given this year's Sportsmanship Award.
For more information on the 2013 Iditarod, visit Iditarod.com.
**In the print edition of the Arctic Sounder, this story's headline incorrectly identified John Baker as the 2013 NANA shareholder of the year, when in fact he was chosen for that title in 2012. The Arctic Sounder apologizes for the error.