49th Iditarod begins Sunday featuring several Fairbanks mushers

Published: Mar. 5, 2021 at 6:56 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - One of the final live sporting events to take place before the COVID-19 pandemic changed life as we know it was the 48th Iditarod, concluding March 18 with Norway’s Thomas Waerner crowned the champion. Waerner announced in November that he would not be defending his title at the 2021 edition of the historic race, citing travel restrictions and limitations. However, this year’s field features other past victors, with four championship teams set to leave Deshka Landing on Sunday. Peter Kaiser (2019), Joar Leifseth Ulsom (2018), Dallas Seavey (2012, ‘14, ‘15, ‘16) and Martin Buser (1992, ‘94, ‘97, 2002) will take on the 852-mile trails as past champions.

There are several mushers representing Fairbanks, including veterans Jessie Royer (best place: 3rd), Jeff Deeter (15th), Riley Dyche (25th) and Cody Strathe (29th), while Fairbanks rookies Joanna Jagow, Will Troshynski, Christopher Parker and Joshua McNeal will take their first crack at the race. Iditarod legend Aliy Zirkle, of Two Rivers, says she will be retiring after this year’s Iditarod. Zirkle, 50, is the only woman to win the Yukon Quest and has finished runner-up three times in the Iditarod.

This year’s version of the Iditarod is not a race to Nome, but will navigate what is being called the Gold Loop Trial, taking the traditional southern route to the Iditarod checkpoint and through the mining ghost town of Flat before returning on the southern route. Here is a complete this of this year’s Iditarod field in starting order:

Bib No.NameLocationExp.
2Aaron PeckGrande Prairie, ABVeteran
3Peter KaiserBethel, AKVeteran
4Kristy BeringtonKnik, AKVeteran
5Jeremy TraskaTwo Rivers, AKRookie
6Richie DiehlAniak, AKVeteran
7Jeff DeeterFairbanks, AKVeteran
8Dennis KananowiczTolsona, AKVeteran
9Ramey SmythWillow, AKVeteran
10Nicolas PetitGirdwood, AKVeteran
11Gunnar JohnsonDuluth, MNVeteran
12Hal HansonKenai, AKRookie
13Anna BeringtonKnik, AKVeteran
14Ryne OlsonTwo Rivers, AKVeteran
15Brenda MackeyTwo Rivers, AKRookie
16Riley DycheFairbanks, AKVeteran
17Matt HallTwo Rivers, AKVeteran
18Chad StoddardAnchorage, AKRookie
19Christopher ParkerFairbanks, AKRookie
20Ryan RedingtonSkagway, AKVeteran
21Brent SassEureka, AKVeteran
22Joanna JagowFairbanks, AKRookie
23Dallas SeaveyTalkeetna, AKVeteran
24Jessie RoyerFairbanks, AKVeteran
25Wade MarrsWillow, AKVeteran
26Michelle PhillipsTagish, YTVeteran
27Will TroshynskiFairbanks, AKRookie
28Mille PorsildDenmarkVeteran
29Matthew FailorWillow, AKVeteran
30Joshua McNealFairbanks, AKRookie
31Susannah TuminelliWillow, AKRookie
32Aliy ZirkleTwo Rivers, AKVeteran
33Travis BealsSeward, AKVeteran
34Martin BuserBig Lake, AKVeteran
35Sean WilliamsChugiak, AKRookie
36Aaron BurmeisterNome/Nenana, AKVeteran
37Cody StratheFairbanks, AKVeteran
38Lev ShvartsWillow, AKVeteran
39Dakota SchlosserWillow, AKRookie
40Dan KaduceChatanika, AKVeteran
41Joar Leifseth UlsomMo i Rana, NorwayVeteran
42Paige DrobnyCantwell, AKVeteran
43Larry DaughertyEagle River, AKVeteran
44Jessie HolmesBrushkana, AKVeteran
45Rick CasilloTalkeetna, AKVeteran
46Cindy GalleaWykoff, MNVeteran
47Sean UnderwoodTalkeetna, AKRookie
48Victoria HardwickBethel, AKVeteran

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