Jessie Holmes wins Iditarod’s First Musher to the Yukon Award

A musher in a red jacket pushes off his sled.
Jessie Holmes pulls up his snow hook and departs Nikolai on Tuesday. (Lex Treinen/Alaska Public Media)

Jessie Holmes and his 12-dog team were first into Anvik early Friday, winning the Iditarod’s First Musher to the Yukon Award.

Anvik is about 510 miles into the 1,000-mile competition, and it’s the first checkpoint on the Yukon River.

Holmes pulled in at 4:03 a.m. His award included a five-course gourmet meal prepared by the executive chef at Marx Bros. Cafe, Jack Amon. On the menu: lobster bisque, Caesar salad, filet mignon and cheesecake.

“It’s as good as it sounds and it looks,” Holmes told the Iditarod Insider. “I’m getting my cheesecake from the wrong place — Costco.” He laughed. 

two people sit at a table
Musher Jessie Holmes sits at a table in Anvik, gearing up for his five-course meal Friday morning. (Iditarod Insider)
filet mignon
On the menu: a filet mignon with a red wine demi gloss, sauteed with maitake mushrooms, asparagus and mashed yukon gold potatoes. (Iditarod Insider)

Holmes planned to take his mandatory eight-hour stop in Anvik. Mushers need to take one eight-hour stop at a checkpoint on the Yukon River or Shageluk. 

Next into Anvik were Nic Petit and his 10 dogs at 6:54 a.m. followed by Brent Sass and his 11-dog team at 7:04 a.m. Richie Diehl blew through an hour later and then came Pete Kaiser at 8:33 a.m.

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Tegan Hanlon is the digital managing editor at Alaska Public Media. Reach her at or 907-550-8447. Read more about Tegan here.

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