Four-time Iditarod champion Jeff King put himself on the auction block at Saturday night's Talkeetna Bachelor Auction, and the result was historic.
A date with King sold for $4,600 — a record for the annual fundraiser that goes back to 1981.
"This is an all-time high bid, beating our old high by about $1800.00!!" Sara Sickler of the Talkeetna Bachelor Society wrote in an email.
Sickler said other mushers have been auctioned off over the years, but she thinks King is the first Iditarod champion.
King took the stage at the Sheldon Community Arts Hangar wearing his bib from the 2016 race — No. 61, which matches his age.
King strolled the runway back and forth amid shrieks and shouts from a wild audience, at one point producing a stuffed animal from the fly of his snowsuit. A red rose and a pair of handcuffs in one hand, he pumped his arms as the auctioneer stirred up higher and higher bids from the crowd.
His date package included a glacier-landing flightseeing trip with Fly Denali; an ATV tour for two; a zipline tour for two; a Husky Homestead tour for four; and a room and breakfast at the Grand Denali Hotel — "this got bumped up to a 2 night stay while he was on stage," Sickler said.
The winning bid of $4,600 represents more money than what was awarded to 37 of the 64 mushers who finished the 2017 race to Nome.
Funds from the auction benefit a number of organizations that aid families in crisis, according to the Talkeetna Bachelor Society website.