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After brutally long day, Buser reaches Nome in 6th place

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  • Updated: September 28, 2016
  • Published March 11, 2014

UPDATE 9 p.m. Tueday

From Beth Bragg --

Three top-10 regulars are in Nome, once again in the top 10.

Montana's Jessie Royer, Wasilla's Ray Redington Jr. and Whitehorse's Han Gatts reached the Nome finish line in a 37-minute span Tuesday, claiming seventh, eighth and ninth place, respectively.

In 10th place is Aaron Burmeister, the only musher on the trail from Safety to Nome.

Royer, 37, placed a career-best seventh for her fourth top-10 finish in 12 Iditarods. She owns a pair of eighth-place finishes and placed 10th once.

Redington, 38, raced into the top 10 for the fourth straight year, although for the first time in that stretch he went down in the standings instead of up. He placed eight after finshing fifth last year, sixth in 2012 and seventh in 2013.

Gatt, 55, back in the race for the first time since 2011, extended his streak of top-10s to five. Four of those finishes came in consecutive years from 2008-2011 for the veteran of 13 races. Gatt, a four-time Yukon Quest champion, was the Iditarod runnerup in 2010 and place third in 2011.

Royer reached Nome at 7:03 p.m. with 10 dogs. Redington followed at 7:11 with 10 dogs and Gatt finished at 7:40 with 11 dogs.

UPDATE 6:30 p.m. Tuesday

From Kevn Klott --

Martin Buser's 31st Iditarod ended Tuesday with his wife Kathy Chapoton giving him a much-needed hug to cap off what turned into longest day of his Iditarod career.

"Happy to be here," Buser said on Front Street in Nome. "I've been out of control for so long."

Buser, 55, finished sixth overall with a time of 9 days, 58 minutes, 58 seconds, which ranks as the second fastest of his illustrious career.

What his time doesn't tell is how long it took him to travel the final 125 miles of the 1,000-mile Iditarod Trail. Starting from Elim, it took the four-time Iditarod champion twice as long as usualy -- 35 hours -- to reach the finish line. And that doesn't include his eight-hour rest in White Mountain.

That stretch of trail normally takes Buser -- a musher known for having speedy teams -- anywhere between 15 to 17 hours. According to reports from, Buser had trouble near the Golovin blowhole along the Bering Sea coast. Winds along the coast reached 40 to 45 mph with gusts up to 55 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

Such wind can frostbite exposed skin in minutes, so Buser ducked for cover inside a nearby cabin to wait out the storm, the report said.

When he crossed the finish line in Nome, he knelt beside his dogs, put his gloved hands on his face, took a deep breath, then stood to give his wife a hug and kiss.

"All my bodily functions are gone," he said. "I can't balance, I can't do anything."

Buser can rest assure knowing he finished his best race since 2008, earned $37,500 in winnings, and kept alive his streak of 31 Iditarods without a scratch.

UPDATE 12:30 p.m. Tuesday

From Kevin Klott --

A staple in sled-dog racing since 1978, Sonny Lindner crossed the Iditarod finish line for what could be the final time Tuesday. The Two Rivers musher arrived fifth at 11:50 a.m.

Lindner, 64, announced along the trail that this would be his final journey to Nome. If that holds true, then Lindner has ended his 18-year Iditarod career in fine fashion, finishing the 1,000-mile race with a career-best time of 8 days, 20 hours, 50 minutes, 49 seconds.

It's the second-straight year the former Yukon Quest winner has placed in the Iditarod's top 10, and the sixth time since his rookie race in 1978. For placing fifth, Lindner will pocket a check for $39,900, putting his total Iditarod winnings at $259,397.

UPDATE 10:45 a.m. Tuesday: Norway's Ulsom finishes fourth

From Kevin Klott --

Joar Leifseth Ulsom has proven to the mushing world that his 2013 Rookie of the Year award wasn't a fluke.

The 27-year-old Norwegian arrived fourth in Nome, checking in at 10:01 a.m. to finish his second Iditarod in 8 days, 19 hours, 1 minute, 1 second -- 17 hours, 32 minutes and 59 seconds faster than the record time he set for a rookie last year.

One of five Norwegians racing this year, Ulsom said he started this year's race with 12 of the same dogs that helped him finish seventh last year. Ulsom was born and raised in northern Norway in the coastal city of Mo i Rana and moved to Alaska three years ago along with 17 dogs.

"It's a big deal to get a team over here from Norway," said Ulsom, who lives in Willow. "Normally it's only the top mushers who can do it."

After Tuesday's finish, he officially etched his name on a list of elite mushers who enjoyed early success in their careers. He joined fellow Norwegians Robert Sørlie and Bjornar Andersen, Ruby's Emmitt Peters and Montana's Doug Swingley as the only mushers to place in the top 10 in their first two Iditarods.

UPDATE 9:15 a.m. Tuesday: Former Yukon Quest champ Hugh Neff scratches

From Kevin Klott --

Tok musher Hugh Neff scratched from the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race at 7 a.m. Tuesday about 10 miles before reaching White Mountain, the next-to-last checkpoint.

An Iditarod press release said Neff told race officials he was "having difficulty traveling well on Golovin Bay." A volunteer was sent on snowmachine to check on Neff, at which time he made the decision to scratch. The 47-year-old musher and his dogs were transported back to White Mountain.

After posting nine straight Iditarod finishes, this year marks his first scratch in the Last Great Race. His highest Iditarod finish was fifth in 2011.

As of 9 a.m. Tuesday, 19 mushers have withdrawn from the race.

UPDATE 8:30 a.m. Tuesday: Defending champion Mitch Seavey finishes 3rd

From Kevin Klott --

Mitch Seavey of Sterling was the third Iditarod musher to cross underneath the burled arch in Nome on Tuesday morning.

Seavey, last year's Iditarod champion and father of this year's winner, checked into Nome at 7:39 a.m. to finish the race in 8 days, 16 hours, 39 minutes and 40 seconds.

He's sure to be shocked once he learns what had transpired overnight.

About three and a half hours before his arrival in Nome, his son Dallas Seavey took the mushing world by surprise with a come-from-behind win over Jeff King and Aliy Zirkle in the final 22 miles of the 1,000-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

"It is difficult between here and Nome," Mitch Seavey said on Monday in White Mountain. "There's wind and big hills, obstacles. It's not just a camping trip."

While Seavey, 54, battled those fierce winds off the Bering Sea coast, his 26-year-old son was celebrating his second Iditarod victory in three years. Dallas posed for pictures under the arch with leaders Beatle and Reef, marking the third year in a row that a Seavey has won the Last Great Race.

Inside Iditarod headquarters, Dallas Seavey and Zirkle rehashed the historic, record-breaking ending to a race that started March 1 in Willow.

"Where's your dad right now?" Zirkle asked Dallas.

"That's a good question," he replied. "It's not safe out there."

For placing third, Mitch Seavey pocketed $44,900 in prize money and added another notch to an illustrious career.

The two-time Iditarod champion now has 12 top-10 finishes in 20 Iditarods for a grand total of $581,354 in winnings, which ranks fourth on the all-time list for the most earned by an Iditarod musher.

In the last three Iditarods, the Seavey men have combined to win $268,100.

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