]Iditarod 42 starts Saturday in Anchorage. The Y-K Delta will have three mushers in the Last Great Race: Pete Kaiser, Mike Willliams Junior, and Richie Diehl. KYUK will highlight all three mushers as the race kicks off.
This will be the fifth Iditarod for Bethel’s Pete Kaiser who has two top 10 finishes to his name. This one will test out a differnent manner of training. He spent the winter running on trails around Nenana and working out of Aaron Burmeister’s yard. He left Bethel December 10th for better training.
“November wasn’t very good and it looked like it was going to turn into to be one of those winters. And didn’t know how long we were going to have to be gone, but it turned into pretty much the whole winter. But you need snow to run dogs, so that’s why we left,” said Kaiser.
In racing this year, he took 8th place in the K300, earning a best in the west award, plus another 8th place in the Denali Doubles. Those are strong finishes to be sure, but he’s calling this a rebuilding year.
“I’m going to let some of my older veterans who have run the race quite a few times stay home and take a bunch of 2-year olds this year and set them up for the future of the kennel. It’s still a pretty darn good team, but it’s a new team, a lot of talent but not a lot of experience, so I’m excited about driving a new team to Nome,” said Kaiser.
That said, Kaiser plans to finish as high as he can. The trail is reported to be icy for the first couple hundred miles, and pretty bare once it reaches the coast.
“If we get a pinch of luck there’s lot of potential for a good finish but its going to be hard to tell until we get 500 or 600 miles into the race and see what we’ve got,” said Kaiser.
Kaiser says it takes a lot of support from family and friends to make it to the starting line.
“Bethany and my son, Ari, and my parents and the whole community of Bethel has supported me for years now. It’s rewarding feeling to know you have a lot of people supporting you, along with all my other sponsors,” said Kaiser.
You can follow Kaiser throughout the race at Kaiserracing.com. Stay tuned to KYUK for previews of Richie Diehl and Mike Williams Junior.