Elliot Anderson and Matt Failor arrived in Nome about 11 minutes apart, with many friends and family members standing by cheering them on…including me! I had seen this group holding up signs even the day before under the live Iditarod web cam. They were ready to celebrate!
Elliot is a very thoughtful person who took the time to help me create an Iditarod Teacher on the Trail™ post this year sharing his love of Robert Service poetry with children. My students created their own version of Iditarod-themed poetry because of his inspiration. Check out the lesson here:
Elliot brought his team under the arches, and he was all smiles but with some surprise at all the attention. Getting to know Elliot a little through this experience, I can honestly say that he is truly a humble and thoughtful young man. Everyone was thrilled for him, and he was gracious about all of it.
A few minutes later it was time for Matt Failor to make his grand entrance! Many people had been concerned about Matt when he accidentally injured himself in Nikolai. True to his character and attitude, he fought through it all, and made it to Nome with a smile on his face.
Matt pulled in his sled and opened up his sled bag and pulled out a husky. He hugged him as we all cheered, showing the love for his dogs that he is known for.
I first met Matt as a finalist for the Iditarod Teacher on the Trail™ and I have so enjoyed working with him this year with several lessons about kennel life and working with husky puppies. Students learned a lot from him, and I really appreciated his time working with me. He is an all-around great guy! Check out the posts here:
He brought his team in, and we all cheered! Matt got off the sled and gave a big hug to Mark Nordman, the Iditarod race marshal. It was a great ending to a long journey. Matt proved to everyone that attitude truly is everything.
Iditarod legend Martin Buser was on hand to congratulate Matt and they were all smiles as Matt thanked each and every dog on his team.
Matt came to the front of his sled and carefully knelt down as he hugged his lead dogs. There were lots of licks and love to go around. I look forward to seeing Matt again in the coming years, and he has invited me to come and visit his 17th Dog Kennel to experience a musher’s life in a small way. He is a generous person, and I was so happy to get to know him this year in this special role.