Peter Kaiser wins 2019 Iditarod

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska - The top three mushers in the 2019 Iditarod have officially crossed the finish line in Nome.
This year's champion is Peter Kaiser. ​
Kaiser crossed the finish line at 3:39 this morning, winning the race after 9 days, 12 hours, and 39 minutes on the trail. ​
This is Kaiser's first Iditarod win. ​
The closest the musher from Bethel came to first in the past was fifth place finishes in 2012, 2016, and 2018. ​
He is also the first Musher of Yup'ik descent to ever win the race. ​
This is the second year in a row that a musher won the race for the first time. ​
The newest Iditarod Champion talked after he finished about when he felt he had the race won, and the support from his home town of Bethel.
"I really didn't feel confident until we hit the road and looking back quite often knowing the type of driver that he is. I didn't count him out, and I knew that he was slow enough that he could make up time quickly if he got his team rolling. Yeah I didn't feel like I had it won at any point until coming down the road here. I've said it before it's not just about me. There's 42 dogs in our kennel and our support system is incredible. And the whole community and region and everybody out there... You saw it tonight. Half the town jumped on jets to come up here and watch me finish. It's incredible. I'm so humbled by that and appreciative. It's so motivating," said Kaiser.
Looking at the rest of the field, last year's Champion Joar Leifseth Ulsom took second this year, crossing the finish line just 12 minutes after Kaiser, finishing in 9 days 12 hours and 51 minutes.
About six hours passed before the next musher came in as Jessie Royer took third place at around 9:34 this morning after 9 days, 18 hours, and 34 minutes on the trail from Anchorage to Nome. ​
Aliy Zirkle finished late this afternoon to place fourth this year, an improvement on her 15th place finish a year ago. ​
And Travis Beals has moved up in the standings to hold fifth place. ​
Cindy Gallea is still in the red lantern position as her and her 8 dogs have left Kaltag. ​