Bogus Creek 150 Champion

Photos by Greg Lincoln

Aniak musher Richie Diehl is the winner of this year’s Bogus Creek 150 Sled Dog Race. He crossed the finish line at 4:58am early Sunday morning with a total elapsed time of 16 hours and 58 minutes. His lead dogs are Demi and Meyer.

by Delta Discovery Staff

The Bogus Creek 150 Sled Dog Race of Bethel has a new champion – Richie Diehl. Diehl races out of his family’s Real Diehl Kennel in Aniak. This is his first time winning the Bogus Creek 150.

He finished the race in 16 hours and 58 minutes crossing the finish line at 4:58am early Sunday. At the finish in lead were Meyer and Demi, he had a total of 10 dogs in harness.

Coming in second and third were father and son of Team Kaiser of Bethel. Ron Kaiser came in at 5:13am with 10 dogs, and Pete Kaiser crossed the finish at 5:16am also with 10 dogs. Elapsed times were 17:13 and 17:16. Pete is Ron’s son and five-time Kuskokwim 300 and 2019 Iditarod champion.

Fr. Alexander Larson of Napaskiak came in fourth place with a time of 17:32. He arrived at 5:32am. He had on a pair of big wolf mittens that were made by his godson.

17 year old Raymond Alexie of Kwethluk arrived in 8th place with a time of 18:23 earning him the Rookie of the Year award. Congratulations to Raymond.

Other rookies included Terrell Andrews of Bethel, Jason Larson of Napaskiak, John Snyder of Akiachak, Christopher Nicolai of Kwethluk, and Twyla Elhardt of Bethel who eventually scratched.

The Bogus Creek 150 sled dog race got underway on Saturday, January 30th, 2021 with a mass start. Seventeen mushers signed up for the race. The Bogus Creek normally takes place during the same weekend as the Kuskokwim 300 race.

It was a beautiful cold day for the race which had been postponed a week before due to warm wet weather.

This year the trail followed an alternate route with the halfway checkpoint located at Hangar Lake outside of Bethel. Racers made their way upriver from the start on the river near the Small Boat Harbor to the Gweek River then continuing on to the Akiachak portage trail. Mushers passed by Akiachak and continued on the river to Akiak.

A couple of miles above Akiak they turned left onto the overland trail back to the Gweek. They picked up the Yukon Trail and then Rocky’s Trail back to Bethel and Hangar Lake, the halfway checkpoint.

Teams spent a mandatory 4-hour layover at Hangar Lake, then headed back to Bethel in reverse on the trail they came on.

A few miles upriver from Bethel several teams stopped at a turnoff point. The dogs wanted to continue on the plowed road and mushers had to get their teams to turn onto the race trail.

Bogus Creek mushers begin arriving at halfway checkpoint

Hangar Lake near Bethel, the halfway checkpoint for the 2021 Bogus Creek 150 Sled Dog Race, was lively with race fans, officials, and support crews with teams arriving starting after 6pm on Saturday, January 30, 2021.

Coming in first was Fr. Alexander Larson at 6:26pm. At 6:28pm Richie Diehl arrived. Next was Team Kaiser of Bethel with Ron Kaiser arriving at 6:32pm followed by his son Pete Kaiser.

Front pack runners kept coming in a steady stream continuing with 2019 Bogus Creek champion 17 year old Jason Pavila who arrived at 6:38pm.

Raymond Alexie came in at 6:42pm followed by Napaskiak’s Jackie Larson who arrived at 6:46pm. Jackie Larson is a two-time Bogus Creek 150 champion winning in 007 and 2015. Jim George of Akiachak/Kwethluk checked in at 6:47pm. George raced with bib #1 in memory of fellow musher Joe Demantle Jr. of Tuluksak who recently passed on. He had the #1 bib pinned to the front of his sled for Joe.

Aniak musher Isaac Underwood clocked in at 6:48pm. 25 seconds later Matt Scott of Bethel – the 2020 Bogus Creek 150 champion – arrived into Hangar Lake.

Ten minutes later Terrell Andrews checked in at 6:58pm. Next at 7:05pm was Solomon Olick of Kwethluk.

There was a span of 24 minutes before Jason Larson of Napaskiak arrived after Olick. He clocked in at 7:29pm. 35 minutes later Carl Ekamrak of Akiachak mushed onto Hangar Lake at 8:04pm.

Twyla Elhardt, the only lady musher in the field, arrived at 8:15pm followed by John Snyder at 8:35pm and Christopher Nicolai at 8:38pm. With Nicolai’s arrival all 17 teams were safely arrived at the checkpoint for their 4-hour layovers.

Past Bogus Creek champion Greg Larson commented on the speed of the incoming teams.

“The dogs run faster at night,” he said. Others agreed.

Team handlers were busy taking care of the dogs, feeding them and getting them bedded down. Mushers also rested, some in their cars as the moon shone brightly over the lake.

Checkers told each musher when they could check out after their 4-hour mandatory layovers when they arrived and by 10:26pm the front musher Fr. Alexander Larson departed for the second half of the race.

The others followed according to the order in which they arrived.

This year the race is dedicated to musher and K300 volunteer Joe Demantle Jr. of Tuluksak who passed away last week from COVID-19. A tribute farewell was held in his honor on the river Friday, January 29th, 2021 in Bethel as he was being taken back to Tuluksak. The Bethel Search and Rescue team brought him home with K300 and Iditarod Champion Pete Kaiser of Bethel leading the way for a few miles.

For his win, Richie Diehl won $8,775 and the race trophy – a nice Yup’ik grass woven mat inguqaq made by Kelly Lincoln. According to race history, Diehl placed 4th in the Bogus Creek 150 back in 2010. The top 15 finishers were all awarded monetary prizes with 15th place and Red Lantern awardee John Snyder receiving $1,975.

Next in dog racing is the Kuskokwim 300 Sled Dog Race, which is scheduled for February 12th and the Akiak Dash on February 13th, 2021.