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He’s not doggin’ it -- Swingley wins Iditarod
Montana musher insurmountable again in 2nd win

SHARE He’s not doggin’ it -- Swingley wins Iditarod
Montana musher insurmountable again in 2nd win

NOME, Alaska -- Montana musher Doug Swingley won his second Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race early Wednesday in much the same way that he won his first: with an insurmountable lead over Martin Buser.

Swingley, from Lincoln, Mont., reached the finish line of the 1,100-mile sled dog race at 1:31 a.m. Alaska time (3:31 MST).He won in an unofficial time of 9 days, 14 hours and 31 minutes.

The victory earned him $54,000 and a new pickup to go along with $9,000 in bonus money he won on the trail.

"I got to take a long rest at the end," Swingley said at the finish line, flanked by family members and a couple of his dogs. "I'm ready to party."

More than seven hours back was Buser, who was the runner-up when Swingley won his first Iditarod in 1995. Buser, from Big Lake, left White Mountain on Tuesday night to cover the remaining 77 miles to this historic Gold Rush-era city.

Swingley's victory margin stands to be the widest since 1992, when Buser finished more than 10 hours ahead of runner-up Susan Butcher.

Swingley borrowed from a race strategy that worked for him in 1995 -- go further than the pack before taking his mandatory 24-hour rest and then outrun everyone else to the Bering Sea coast.

While on the Yukon River, Swingley said, he and Buser agreed he was faster than others in the field.

"He and I both realized that I may not see him or anyone else again," Swingley said. "It was my race to lose."

But at the same time, despite his confidence, he didn't want to count it as a victory too soon.

He also caught a few big breaks. Injuries led Buser to cut his team from 16 dogs to 10 early in the race, which forced him to run more conservatively. And after leaving the Yukon River, Swingley just missed a bout of bad weather that slowed other front-running teams.

Swingley also broke two sleds, but neither slowed him down. He patched the first with a stick and a few hose clamps, and the second broke just before his 24-hour layover in Iditarod, leaving him plenty of time to fly in a replacement.

On Tuesday, Buser arrived in White Mountain at 3:05 p.m., early enough to engage in some playful give-and-take with Swingley.

"Hey, thanks for waiting for me, Doug," Buser shouted.

Villagers, reporters and others watched the two front-runners -- Buser pulling out his cooking gear to feed his team and Swingley packing up and putting booties on his dogs.

"We'll see you in Nome, OK?" Swingley said shortly before leaving.

Buser gave Swingley a small box containing a cigar.

"You can smoke it whenever," he said. "I was going to smoke it myself, but I'm not going to now . . . It's the victory cigar."