ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Aaron Burmeister reclaimed the lead of the Iditarod on Saturday after leaving the checkpoint at Nulato ahead of Jeff King.
Burmeister hasn't taken his mandatory eight hour layover yet in the rice. King has.
The musher's kennel and breeding program has spent 17 years building an Iditarod team. The 39-year-old is the son of Iditarod veteran Richard Burmeister.
King, 59, is a four-time Iditarod winner. He has been mushing since 1976 after he heard Jerry Riley's race finish while listening to the radio.
Aliy Zirkle has also checked in at Nulato, a village of 246 people who rely on a trapping and subsistence lifestyle.
Zirkle is trying for her first win after finishing second in the last three years. If the 45-year-old pulls in to the finish line at Nome first, she would be the first female Iditarod winner since 1990 when the late Susan Butcher finished first.
Nulato is 346 miles from the finish line at Nome.
Rounding out the top five are Jessie Royer and Dallas Seavey, who have both left Koyukuk for Nulato.
Two mushers scratched Saturday. Gerald Sousa dropped out at Galena and Christine Roalofs left in Ruby. Both cited the best interests of their teams.
The race started Monday with 78 mushers in Fairbanks. Four mushers have scratched and one has been disqualified. Two dogs have died, including a dog on four-time champion Lance Mackey's team.