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RAINY PASS, Alaska -- Longtime Montana resident Jessie Royer was past the Rainy Pass checkpoint in ninth place Monday on the second day of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

Royer, who grew up in Ennis and has lived outside of White Sulphur Springs, Philipsburg and Darby, arrived at Rainy Pass at 3:46 p.m. (MST) and departed five minutes later. Rookie Jessie Holmes, 41, an Alabama native who spent three years in Montana as a carpenter before moving to Nenana, Alaska, was in first place, having arrived at Rainy Pass at 10:12 a.m. (MST).

Royer was about 5 1/2 hours behind Holmes.

"Gorgeous day in the AK range!" Royer texted 406mtsports.com upon arriving at Rainy Pass. "Warm. Trying to stay ahead of the pack on a better trail. Trail goes bad fast with every team."

Royer is competing in her 14th Iditarod. She finished fifth a year ago and fourth in 2015.

The run from Rainy Pass to the next checkpoint at Rohn is 35 miles. The Rohn Roadhouse is considered the gateway to Alaska's Interior.

"Team is doing good," Royer said.

The 2018 Iditarod is just under 1,000 miles, starting in Willow, Alaska, and ending in Nome. 

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