The biggest weekend of sled dog racing in the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta is about to begin. Mushers and dog teams from across the state and Canada are arriving in Bethel Wednesday and Thursday as they prepare to compete in this weekend’s three races: the 38th Annual Kuskokwim 300 Sled Dog Race, the Bogus Creek 150, and the Akiak Dash.
The longer distance races start on Friday. The Bogus Creek 150 starts at 5 p.m. on the Kuskokwim River in front of Bethel, and the Kuskokwim 300 begins at 6:30 p.m. in the same spot. Fireworks will follow on the river around 7:15 p.m. after the final K300 musher has started the race and is a safe distance away.
To get ready for the big day, mushers for both races are meeting with race officials at 4 p.m. on Thursday at the Long House Hotel to review rules, learn trail conditions, and draw bib numbers.
Twenty-two mushers have signed up for the mid-distance Kuskokwim 300. Local mushers include two-time winner and defending champion Pete Kaiser of Bethel, three-time Bogus Creek 150 winner Jackie Larson of Napaskiak, Mike Williams Jr. of Akiak, Isaac Underwood of Aniak, Richie Diehl of Aniak, and rookie Victoria Hardwick of Bethel.
The Bogus Creek 150 signups will occur during Thursday’s meeting.
The third race of the weekend, the Akiak Dash, will begin Saturday at 2 p.m. on the Kuskokwim River.