Ryan Redington, with his lead dogs Ghost and Sven, was honored on Sunday as the winner of the 2023 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, as well as the winner of five special awards at the Iditarod finishers banquet in Nome.
The 40-year-old veteran musher, grandson of race founder Joe Redington Sr., also won the Alaska Air Transit Spirit of Alaska Award, for being the first musher to reach the McGrath checkpoint; the Bristol Bay Native Corp. Fish First Award as the first musher to reach the Kaltag checkpoint; the Ryan Air Gold Coast Award as the first musher to reach the Unalakleet checkpoint; the Northrim Bank Achieve More Award as the first musher to reach the White Mountain checkpoint; and the city of Nome Lolly Medley Memorial Golden Harness Award for the most outstanding lead dog as chosen by fellow mushers.
Hunter Keefe – who trained with Redington’s father, Raymie Redington – was chosen by fellow mushers to receive the Donlin Gold Sportsmanship Award, after aiding another musher who had lost his team on the trail to Nome.
Jason Mackey, brother of the late Iditarod champion Lance Mackey, was presented with the Red Lantern Award, given to the final finisher of the race. He also received the Most Inspirational Musher Award, which was chosen by fellow mushers.
Others honored were Wade Marrs, with the GCI Dorothy G. Page Halfway Award for being the first musher to arrive at the Iditarod checkpoint; Jessie Holmes, with the First Musher to the Yukon Award given at the Anvik checkpoint; Eddie Burke, with the Rookie of the Year award as the top-placing rookie of 2023; Nic Petit, with the Nome Kennel Club Fastest Time from Safety to Nome; and Matt Failor, with the Most Improved Musher Award for best improved finish over his previous places.
Bridgett Watkins was presented the Northern Air Cargo Herbie Nayokpuk Memorial Award for being the person who emulates “Herbie: The Shishmaref Cannon Ball” in his attitude on the trail.
The Golden Clipboard Award for the most outstanding checkpoint, chosen by competing mushers, went to the Grayling checkpoint.