He may have faded to sixth place after leading early, but fast-starting Big Lake musher Martin Buser claimed one of the most sought-after Iditarod honors at the race awards banquet Sunday in Nome. For the fifth time in his career, Buser has won the Leonhard Seppala Humanitarian Award for outstanding dog care by a competitive racer.
Mushers named hobbled Aaron Burmeister the most inspirational finisher, while second-time champ Dallas Seavey's lead husky Beatle won the Golden Harness award for top dog. Aniak musher Richie Diehl, who placed 36th in 2013, won most-improved musher following his 14th-place finish this year.
Racers chose Mike Williams Jr., of Akiak, for the sportsmanship trophy.
Here is the full list of winners, provided by Iditarod officials:
PenAir Spirit of Alaska Award
- Presented since 2000, to the first musher to reach McGrath.
- Musher receives an original "Spirit Mask," specially created for this event by Bristol Bay artist, Orville Lind, and a $500.00 credit on PenAir towards travel or freight shipments.
GCI Dorothy G Page Halfway Award
- Presented by GCI since 1994, in honor of the late Dorothy G. Page, the "Mother of the Iditarod".
- First musher to the checkpoint receives a trophy and $3,000.00 in gold nuggets
Millennium Alaskan Hotel First Musher to the Yukon Award
- Presented to the first musher to the Yukon, this year presented in Ruby
- "After Dinner Mint" of $3,500.
Bristol Bay Native Corporation Fish First Award
- Presented to the first musher to Galena.
- Check for $1,000.00, Twenty-Five (25) Pounds of Bristol Bay salmon and a commemorative jacket.
Wells Fargo Gold Coast Award
-Presented by Wells Fargo since 1993, to the first musher to Unalakleet.
Jerry Austin Rookie of the Year Award
- Presented since 1980, to the top place rookie (defined as a musher who has never before started the race.)
- Musher receives check for $1,500.00 and trophy.
Nome Kennel Club Fastest Time Safety to Nome Award
Jessie Royer and Ray Redington Jr.
- Presented by the Nome Kennel Club since 1973.
- Winner must be in top 20.
- Musher receives $500.
Horizon Lines Most Improved Musher Award
- Honors the musher who has bettered his/her last previous finish by the most number of places.
- Winner receives an engraved trophy plus $2,000.
Michael Williams Jr.
- Musher receives an engraved trophy Recipient chosen by fellow mushers.
- Winner receives a check for $1,049 from ITC and a plaque.
EXXONMOBIL Mushers Choice Award
- Each year the official finishers make the decision as to who was the most inspirational musher on the trail.
- The Iditarod Limited Edition Gold Coin is valued at $3,900 and it's surrounded by a gold chain rope.
Northern Air Cargo Herbie Nayokpuk Award
- Presented to the musher chosen by vote of the checkers along the coast which incorporate the Bering Straits Native Corporation who most closely mimics Herbie: "The Shishmaref Cannon Ball" in his/her attitude on the trail.
- "Recipient receives free freight allotment on Northern Air Cargo and a trophy, plus $1,049 in "pocket change" inside of a NAC jacket.
Golden Clipboard Award
Checkpoint of Galena
- Presented by the mushers since 2000 to a special checkpoint.
- Voted on by the mushers
Alaska Airlines Leonhard Seppala Humanitarian Award
- Presented since 1982 to a top 20 team.
- Based on specific criteria to determine who has best demonstrated outstanding dog care throughout the Race while remaining competitive.
- Recipient received a lead crystal cup on an illuminated wooden base
City of Nome Lolly Medley Golden Harness Award
Beatle, Dallas Seavey's Lead Dog
- Originally presented by the late Lolly Medley, Wasilla harness maker and one of two women to run the second Iditarod in 1974.
- Embroidered gold colored harness.
- Goes to an outstanding led dog, chosen by the mushers.
- Presented at the Nome banquet by Denise Michels, Mayor of Nome.
Wells Fargo Winner's Purse Award
Anchorage Chrysler Dodge Official Truck Award
- Presented to the Iditarod winner since 1991
- 2014 Dodge Ram 4x4 quad cab pickup truck or similarly priced new Dodge, Jeep, or Chrysler vehicle valued at $39,200
Wells Fargo Red Lantern Award
- Presented by Wells Fargo Bank since 1993, given to the last musher to finish the race.
- Musher receives a trophy made from a red lantern
Northern Air Cargo 4-Wheeler Drawing
- New 4 Wheeler will be given to a musher who has finished the race, and whose key, is chosen randomly by the mushers, and starts the 4 wheeler.
Daily News staff