William Kleedehn of Carcross, Yukon, claimed rookie-of-the year honors for his 28th place finish on Thursday.
Kleedehn may technically be an Iditarod rookie, but he's far from an inexperienced musher. Kleedehn has started the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race 11 times, finishing as high as second twice.
He's the latest in a steady parade of mushers who've switched from the Yukon Quest to the Iditarod -- or done both, as champion Lance Mackey has so successfully managed the past two years.
Others who've made the switch:
Three-time Quest champion Hans Gatt of Whitehorse, Yukon, was sixth this year, his best Iditarod finish ever;
Sebastian Schnuelle is another Whitehorse musher who put together his best Iditarod ever, finishing 10th. He's started five Quests, finishing as high as sixth.
Gerry Willomitzer, also of Whitehorse, is a four-time Quest finisher. He moved up from 30th as a rookie last year to 16th this year.
Aliy Zirkle of Two Rivers has finished three Quests, but hasn't been back since becoming the first woman to win it in 2000.
Hugh Neff of Skagway has started eight Quests, finishing as high as third. The past three years, he attempted a Mackeyesque double. In this year's Iditarod he finished 25th, a drop from 19th in 2007.
Kelly Griffin of Wasilla has started seven Quests and this year is aiming to become the first woman to finish both races.
Even Iditarod runner-up Jeff King is a former Yukon Quest champion -- albeit not since 1989.
All but Griffin abandoned the Quest this year to focus on the Iditarod.
Moore bows out
Allen Moore of Two Rivers became the 15th Iditarod musher to scratch on Wednesday in Shaktoolik. Moore was 36th as a rookie last year, but is more comfortable in mid-distance races.
He owns three victories in four years in the Copper Basin 300, including a rare victory over Lance Mackey, who he overtook in the final stretch of this year's race in January.