Defending champion Susan Butcher took the lead Saturday in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog race as mushers moved up the frozen Yukon River.
Butcher was the first musher out of Grayling, at 3:20 p.m. She was followed at 4:11 by veteran mushers DeeDee Jonrowe and Joe Garnie. More than a dozen other mushers had arrived in the Yukon River village by late afternoon.Butcher took the lead earlier in the day at Anvik, where she spent just 22 minutes before heading upriver at 6:37 a.m. She was followed one minute later by Jonrowe and Lavon Barve, both top-five finishers for the past two years.
The mushers racing through Anvik passed Jeff King, who had arrived there first, at 2:23 a.m., to claim a $3,500 cash prize and a seven-course feast, courtesy of a race sponsor.
After dining on shrimp, lamb medallions, black raspberry sorbet and other delicacies, King shoved off from Anvik in 10th place.