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Swingley Leads Iditarod

March 13, 1999

EAGLE ISLAND, Alaska (AP) _ Doug Swingley was still the musher to beat Saturday as the front-runners in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race make their way up the frozen Yukon River.

Swingley, the 1995 winner from Lincoln, Mont., was the first to arrive at the Eagle Island checkpoint with his 13 dogs.

Three-time winner Martin Buser of Big Lake, Alaska, was second. Rick Swenson from Two Rivers, Alaska, and the Iditarod’s only five-time winner, was third, followed by 1998 runnerup DeeDee Jonrowe.

Another three-time winner, Jeff King of Denali Park, Alaska, was fifth.

Swingley has had a number of first so far in the race. He was first into the namesake checkpoint of Iditarod and first to reach the Yukon River. That, despite two broken sleds, which he quickly repaired.

John Barron from Sheep Creek, Alaska, declared himself out of the race during the overnight back at the midpoint Gold Rush ghost town of Iditarod. Barron _ the sixth scratch in the race _ said his young dogs simply were too tired to continue. He finished 12th in last year’s race.

Fifty-six mushers began the 1,100-mile run to Nome a week ago at Anchorage.

The winner gets $54,000 from the $450,000 purse. Prize money is paid to the first 20 finishers.

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