Richie Diehl and Pete Kaiser feel some hometown love in McGrath

Published: Mar. 10, 2022 at 10:51 AM AKST
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MCGRATH, Alaska (KTUU) - Richie Diehl of Aniak and Pete Kaiser of Bethel are both born and raised on the Kuskokwim River, the same body of water that McGrath sits on.

Diehl and Kaiser are connected by more than just the river though: the two are good friends, and Kaiser was even in Diehl’s wedding party.

When Diehl pulled up from the Kuskokwim with his dog team Tuesday evening, it was almost like he was pulling into his hometown. Kids were holding signs and running up to him to get his autograph.

“They are like big families around here and everyone kind of looks out for everybody” Diehl said.

On the back of one of the signs was Pete Kaiser’s name, the town somewhat adopting the two mushers as their own.

According to Kaiser, McGrath is the last place along the Iditarod trail where he really feels like he is at home.

“I think some of the folks from McGrath feel a sense of us being Kuskokwim mushers, even though we are quite aways downriver, Bethel especially, since we kind of all share the same river,” Kaiser said.

Kaiser won the Iditarod in 2019, and Richie Diehl has two top-10 finishes in eight starts since 2013. Both of them are running strong races up to this point and are hoping to keep it up as they continue on to the second half of the trail.

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