Zirkle and Royer compete to be first woman to win Iditarod in 28 years

NIKOLAI, Alaska (KTUU) — It's been 28 years since a woman last won the Last Great Race.

Don't remind Jessie Royer.

"Guess Aliy and I better stop slacking and get with the program," she said with a laugh.

Between her and Aliy Zirkle, these two women have 12 top 10 finishes — six each.

"Not that we haven't been trying," Royer laughs. "We've been giving it all we've got for several years now, there's just so many good teams."

These two women just want to win the race.

"Cuz, I don't think anyone considers us women mushers. You can talk to anyone. Pete Kaiser and Matt Hall," Zirkle says matter of factly. "That wouldn't be what they would think. They'd think, oh yeah, I hope I can beat Aliy or Jessie."

They've both already set records.

"A female may not have won the race in 28 years but Aliy and I are still the fastest two women to ever finish the Iditarod. By days," Royer said.

But at the end of the day, they're both here for one reason.

"I'm just out here, doing the best I can, and we'll get to Nome, you know?," Royer says with a shrug.