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Dean Swope / KYUK

Increments of about 20 minutes separate the three front runners of the Kuskokwim 300 Sled Dog Race. Defending champion Pete Kaiser of Bethel arrived in Tuluksak, the final checkpoint before the finish, at 1:22 a.m. Last year’s runner up, Brent Sass of Eureka, arrived at 1:42 a.m. And Richie Diehl of Aniak, who finished fourth last year, arrived at 2:08 a.m. After a four-hour layover, the race to the finish will begin.

Dean Swope / KYUK

Bethel rookie Victoria Hardwick hasn't moved for a couple hours from a spot on the trail about 15 miles outside Aniak, as of 12:00 Sunday morning. Musher Roger Lee passed her on the trail and told crew at the Aniak check point that said she's stuck northeast of Whitefish Lake. She's been out there a few hours and couldn't get team moving. Late Saturday evening, Aniak checkpoint volunteers went on snowmachines to check on her as temperatures dip towards 40 below zero. The crews called to report Hardwick will push on. They brought her firewood to keep warm, but she did not except it.

Video: Akiak Dash Mass Start

Jan 21, 2017
Mike McIntyre / KYUK

13 teams took to the frozen Kuskokwim Saturday afternoon in the running of the Akiak Dash.

But unlike the weekend's other sled dog races, the Dash starts with all free-for-all where the racing teams chose their own trail for the first part of the race.

Cameron Jackson Crowned Akiak Dash Champion

Jan 21, 2017
Ben Matheson / KYUK

Akiak's Cameron Jackson won his first Akiak Dash Saturday evening in subzero Bethel temperatures to prevail from a field of 13 team. Jackson, running dogs from the Akiak-based Jackson Kennel, finished behind a string of seven at 7:52, edging out a hard-charging Sean Larson of Napaskiak. Jackson crossed the finish line only two minutes in front of Larson, who brought in a team of six dogs. The 27-year-old has been mushing for more than a decade and has competed in many local races, notching his first major victory in the 2017 Akiak Dash. Larson crossed the finish line at 7:54.

Video: Top Three Bogus Creek 150 Finishers

Jan 21, 2017

1st Place: Lewis Pavilla

2017 Bogus Creek 150 Champion Lewis Pavilla from KYUK on Vimeo.

2nd Place: Niklas Wikstrand

Katie Basile / KYUK

All the races that occur the weekend of the Kuskokwim 300 Sled Dog Race only happen with the support of volunteers all along the trail. The reporters in Rachel DeHaan’s third grade class at Gladys Jung Elementary School give us an inside look at some of these important helpers.


13 Teams Rocket Out of Bethel on Akiak Dash

Jan 21, 2017
Dean Swope / KYUK

13 mushers are racing on the Kuskokwim River to Akiak and back this afternoon in subzero temperatures. The mass start began at 2:00 p.m. in Bethel on the river. The winner takes home $3,700 out of the grand total purse of $20,000. Last year’s Champion Greg Larson is not racing this year, but 2016 second place finisher Thomas Carl and third place finisher Katie Lamb return in pursuit of the title.

2017 Akiak Dash Field:

Dean Swope / KYUK

Yukon Quest champion and 2016 Kuskokwim 300 runner-up Brent Sass is the first musher out of Aniak on the trail back downriver to Kalskag in the 2017 Kuskokwim 300. Sass blew through the checkpoint at 1:17 p.m. Saturday afternoon. He was followed five minutes later by Jessie Holmes, who arrived first into the checkpoint after racing at the front of the 20-team field since it began Friday night in Bethel.  

Katie Basile / KYUK

Lewis Pavilla is the first four-time winner of the Bogus Creek 150. In the closing portion of the race, he passed rookie Maurice Andrews, who had held the race lead up until the final checkpoint of Tuluksak. Running a string of dogs from the Max Olick Bad River Kennel in Kwethluk, Pavilla arrived in Bethel at 11:07 a.m. Saturday morning. He told KYUK he was in good spirits with the victory, despite the deep cold that set the tone for the race. 

“It feels good, a little frostbitten all over my face. I lost my dry face mask somewhere back there,” said Pavilla.

Dean Swope / KYUK

Maurice Andrews was the first musher to leave Tuluksak early Saturday morning, leading a field of nine mushers racing down the remaining stretch of tundra and the Kuskokwim River to Bethel. He left at 5:49 a.m.., racing in front of three-time past champion Lewis Pavilla, who left 18 minutes behind at 6:07 a.m.

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