The Kuskokwim 300 Race Committee has announced it will raise the purse for all of its races this season. The pay bump will be spread out evenly for every paid finisher.
So racers placing in any of the K300 races, from the 300 itself all the way down to the holiday classic, will get a bigger check than last year.
K300 Race Manager Zach Fansler said the decision won’t benefit just the high placing mushers.
“You know we realize the best way to do it is just to apply a 10% rate increase across everything. So if you finish first in the K300 this year, last year you would have earned $20,000, now this year you’ll earn $22,000. If you finish back in the pack, where you would have earned $1,500 last year, now you’ll earn $1,650,” Fansler said.
That 10% increase goes for every place in every race the K300 puts on. He says the goal was not only to raise the purse, but also to increase interest in all the events.
“The board just doesn’t want to raise the profile of the K300 but also all its affiliate races: the Bogus Creek 150, the Akiak Dash, the Camp-out Race, the Holiday Race, our JR Classic and things like that,” Fansler said.
He said the purse increase is a rarity in today’s financial climate. “Many of the other organizations necessarily are having the same purse or a smaller purse for their races.”
This payout bump could make races more attractive for local mushers like Akiak’s Sam Jackson.
“That helps out if you can place, with gas prices going up. It’s better than nothing,” Jackson said.
Jackson’s kennel has about 25 dogs. He thinks mushers across the delta with similar sized or smaller yards will be excited about the purse increase.
“Maybe it will help them be a little more enthusiastic about entering some of those races,” Jackson said.
Officials the K300 say the increase was made possible through both sponsor contribution and help through volunteers donating time and services.
The first race of the year is the Holiday Classic. It’s scheduled for late December.