Iditarod Day 8: Race leader Nicolas Petit arrives first into Unalakleet

Nicolas Petit is the first musher in to McGrath in the 2019 Iditarod (KTUU)
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UNALAKLEET, Alaska (KTUU) - Race leader Nicolas Petit has arrived in Unalakleet just before 10 a.m, making him the first musher to hit the coast of Norton Sound.

Arriving first in Unalakleet netted Petit $1,500 worth of Bering Sea gold and an ivory sculpture of a sled dog team.

In 2018, Petit also arrived into Unalakleet in first place, setting him for a strong possibility to win his first Iditarod championship. The musher lost the trail after leaving Shaktoolik on the way to Koyuk, allowing Joar Leifseth Ulsom to overtake Petit and claim victory.

Petit’s team had 10 dogs in harness when he pulled into Unalakleet.

As of midday Sunday, defending champion Joar Leifseth Ulsom and Iditarod veterans Jessie Royer and Pete Kaiser were camped out together a little off the trail between Kaltag and Unalakleet.

Three-time Iditarod champion Mitch Seavey was a little way behind Royer, Ulsom and Kaiser.

Petit lay down straw for his dogs and fed and watered his team. He walked inside to the busy checkpoint, renowned for its mountains of sourdough pancakes and bacon.

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