Bethel is set to host the state’s top mushing teams in the K300 sled dog race in January. There are 15 teams signed up to compete so far, nearly all of them Iditarod and Yukon Quest veterans.
The field includes four-time Iditarod champion, Jeff King, who has also won the K300 eight times.
Last year’s K300 champion, Rohn Buser, and his father, Martin Buser, a four-time Iditarod champion will be here.
Past K300 champion, Paul Gebhardt, will compete along with his handler, Kristy Berington.
Aliy Zirkle and Allen Moore, a mushing couple from Two Rivers, plan to bring two teams to Bethel. Zirkle took 2nd place in the Iditarod last year and Moore took 2nd place in the Yukon Quest.
Veteran musher Joe Garnie will race the K300 after a 12-year layoff. The Native musher originally from Teller first ran the K300 in 1983. Since then, he has competed in the race five more times.
Of the four local teams competing in the Iditarod, the Williams’ from Akiak have already signed up for the K300. However, Kaiser and Diehl have not signed up yet but are expected to.
Other mushers include Tony Browning running with Aaron Burmeister’s kennel as well as Ramey Smyth, Ken Anderson, Ray Redington Jr., and Josh Cadzow.
Mushers have until Jan. 1 to sign up for $500. Starting Jan. 2, the fee jumps to $900.
The purse for the K300 raised this year to $110,000 with the first place taking home $22,000.
The K300 race begins January 18. Its sister races, the Bogus Creek 150 and the Akiak Dash, will be held the same weekend.