ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - 9:00 p.m. Update
Joar Leifseth Ulsom is the first musher into Iditarod just before 8:28 p.m Wednesday evening. Ulsom arrived into the ghost town with 16 dogs on the line.
Iditarod is considered the halfway point of the Iditarod and Ulsom was given the Dorothy G. Page Halfway Award for making it Iditarod in first place. The Iditarod Trail Committee says "the winner receives a trophy and $3,000 in gold nuggets, which is symbolic of the historical tie between gold mining and mushing."
Ulsom is being chased by fellow Norwegian Lars Monsen, four-time champion Jeff King and Iditarod veteran Larry Daugherty.
4:50 p.m. Update
A total of eight mushers have reached the Ophir checkpoint, behind Joar Leifseth Ulsom.
Ulsom first reached the checkpoint at 4:42 a.m. Wednesday, before heading back on the trail 10 minutes later.
The next musher to arrive in Ophir – Hugh Neff, racing under bib 68 – clocked in five hours later, at 9:44 a.m. However, Neff is still at the Ophir checkpoint.
Lars Monsen, racing under bib 61, arrived into Ophir at 1:58 p.m. He rested a total of 7 minutes, before taking off for the Iditarod checkpoint.
Currently, a total of seven other mushers are still resting at the Ophir checkpoint.
The top 9 mushers to enter Ophir are as follows:
1 Joar Leifseth Ulsom Bib 33 3/7 04:42:00
2 Hugh Neff Bib 68 3/7 09:44:00
3 Ketil Reitan Bib 54 3/7 10:31:00
4 Martin Buser Bib 28 3/7 11:32:00
5 Jessie Holmes Bib 41 3/7 12:37:00
6 Tom Knolmayer Bib 43 3/7 12:52:00
7 Jeff King Bib 40 3/7 13:39:00
8 Lars Monsen Bib 61 3/7 13:58:00
9 Anna Berington Bib 4 3/7 14:07:00
The first musher has reached the Ophir checkpoint, and in just ten minutes, he was back out on the trail again.
According to the official time records of the Iditarod, Norway's own Joar Leifseth Ulsom, racing under bib 33, made it in to Ophir at 4:42 a.m. Wednesday morning. At 4:52 a.m., he was back on the trail headed to the Iditarod checkpoint.
That checkpoint, named after the abandoned gold mining town of Iditarod for which the race got its name, marks the halfway point of the race.
According to the Iditarod's GPS tracking system, no other mushers have left the Takotna checkpoint so far. A majority of the mushers elected to take a 24-hour layover break in Takotna. Ulsom did not, instead deciding to mush through it.
This story will be updated as more mushers reach Ophir.