On a day when trail crews and volunteers had to lead the top eight mushers off Norton Sound and onto the mainland near Koyuk after they stalled on jumble ice, Pete Kaizer and Aaron Burmeister grabbed the lead Friday night in the inaugural Paul Johnson Memorial Norton Sound 450.
The teams got caught in jumble ice with no clear trail available.
Once on the mainland and able to drive their teams, Kaizer set the pace into Koyuk, arriving at 2:02 p.m. DeeDee Jonrowe followed at 2:03, with Burmeister arriving at 2:07.
Kaizer and Burmeister both left for Elim, the next checkpoint, at 7:13 p.m. John Schandelmeier, who arrived at Koyuk at 2:59 p.m., was the third to leave at 7:50 p.m. Jonrowe was still in Koyuk as of 8 p.m. Friday.
The 450-mile race began Wednesday in Unalakleet.
Exxon race today
A $30,000 purse is up for grabs this weekend in the Exxon Mobile sprint sled dog race at Tozier Track.
Defending champion Arleigh Reynolds and reigning Fur Rendezvous champion Egil Ellis are among the 22 mushers entered in the 39th running of the open-class race.
The race is a tuneup for the Fur Rondy championships in two weeks. The open-class race begins at 2 p.m. today and Sunday, with limited-class racing starting at 10 a.m. each day.
At 1 p.m. today, six high-ranking members of the military will compete in a three-dog, three-mile charity race. In addition, Exxon Mobile will contribute $20,000 to the Wounded Warriors program.
Exxon Mobile open-class start order
1) Bill Kornmuller, 2) Luke Sampson, 3) Randy DeKuiper, 4) Nathan Sterling, 5) Ken Chezik, 6) Jeff Conn, 7) Greg Seilentin, 8) Jennifer Sterling, 9) Mari Wood, 10) Marvin Kokrine, 11) Egil Ellis, 12) Michael Tetzner, 13) Arleigh Reynolds, 14) Don Cousins, 15) Eddie Dayton, 16) Erik Renneberg, 17) Kevin Cook, 18) John Bunderson, 19) Rob Worden, 20) Marie Anick Elle, 21) Rob Peebles, 22) Shane Goosen.