By Tim Akimoff
7:45 PM AKST, March 8, 2011
Big Lake musher Martin Buser was the first Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race contender to reach McGrath Tuesday night, claiming the prestigious PenAir Spirit of Alaska Award.
The four-time Iditarod champion arrived at 5:55 p.m. with 16 dogs and was greeted by PenAir's vice president of sales and marketing Missy Anderson, who presented him with an original "spirit mask" specially created by Bristol Bay artist Orville Lind.
Buser also received a $500 credit toward travel or freight shipments with PenAir.
The speedy musher didn't spend much time in McGrath, taking off with 15 dogs for Takotna shortly after the presentation.
Copyright © 2013, KTUU-TV