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Iditarod Musher Gets Her First ‘First To the Yukon Award’ In Ruby

Jessie Royer was the first musher to reach the Yukon River portion of the 2020 Iditarod trail. She checked into Ruby this morning under pale moonlight at 6:37am.

Royer arrived with a full team, however one of her dogs was being carried in the sled. According to one of the race veterinarians, her dog K-dog had a sore shoulder and so she plans to drop him in Ruby. When asked how long she’ll stay, Royer said she isn’t quite sure yet.

Checker: Are you going to do your 8? Royer: I haven’t decided, I’ll declare it, but I may not take it. Checker: I’ll just mark it huh? Royer: Yeah, I haven’t decided yet.”

Royer did mention she’ll stay for a while, whether or not she takes her 8-hour layover here is unclear. However, it’s expected she’ll be in the checkpoint long enough to enjoy the customary five-course meal provided to the first musher who reaches Ruby.

By the time of this update, the next team in was Thomas Waerner who checked in one minute ahead of Aaron Burmeister of Nenana/Nome as the two were neck and neck into Ruby.

Image at top: Jessie Royer getting checked in at Ruby with a dog in her sled. She arrived with all 14 dogs. Photo from Davis Hovey, KNOM (2020)

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We acknowledge that KNOM Radio Mission is located on the customary lands of Indigenous peoples. 

Based in the Bering Strait region, KNOM broadcasts throughout the homelands of the Iñupiaq, Siberian Yup’ik, Cup’ik and Yup’ik peoples.

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