Williams Jr. wins Holiday Classic

by Mark Arehart on December 27, 2011

Mike Williams Jr. won the race with an over nine minute lead.

The 47-mile 2011 Holiday classic started, as every year, with a lot of barking. Spectators at the mass start could feel the dogs’ energy; all they wanted to do was run.

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The race did not disappoint, with two of the region’s most promising young mushers and Iditarod veterans coming in first and second.

Mike Williams Jr., of Akiak, finished first at 3 hours and 36 minutes, with Pete Kaiser of Bethel coming in nine minutes later. Those times, though, don’t tell the whole story.

Williams led the race wire to wire, amassing a huge lead by the turnaround near Akiak. He earned $1,200 for his effort.

Kaiser dashed like a madman over the final stretch overtaking four or five mushers to cut into William’s lead.

The race had a mass start just after sunrise.

“I think it was, once again, another great showing for our local young mushers. You know Mike and Pete are fantastic, they’re doing a lot of great things with training,” Zach Fansler, race manager of the K300 race committee, the group that puts on the Holiday Classic.

He said the well-packed trail and clear weather allowed for a fast event. “We pretty much had every musher within four and a half hours complete the race.”

Jessica Klejka of Bethel finished third followed by Lewis Pavilla of Kwethluk running dogs in Max Olick’s kennel. Pete Kaiser’s handler, Jen Peeks took fifth. A total of 11 mushers raced, splitting a total purse of over $6,000.

A sled dog ready for the race.

It seemed though that nobody could have caught Williams, who had relied on his father, Mike Williams, Sr. and others to train the dogs.

“I just got back from Oregon just over a week ago. I took them out on a few runs. Up until today, I thought, kind of had in the back of my mind, they were a little short on miles and wouldn’t perform the way they did today. I’m very happy,” Williams Jr. said.

The K300 race weekend kicks off Friday January 20th, with the Bogus Creek 150, K300 and Akiak Dash.

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