Jackie Larson of Napaskiak wins the 2021 Akiak Dash

Jackie Larson's granddaughter Kaeyln Samson looks up adoringly at her ap'a while he gives his winner's interview at the finish. Photo by Kelly Lincoln

by Delta Discovery Staff

Napaskiak musher Jackie Larson is the winner of this year’s Akiak Dash. He mushed in to the finish line on Saturday night, February 13th, 2021 at 7:28pm with seven dogs. His total elapsed time was 5 hours, 28 minutes. In lead were Holland and Noon.

Coming in a close second was Matt Scott of Bethel. His time was 5 hours, 34 minutes. In third was Greg Larson, last year’s Akiak Dash champion. His total elapsed time was 5 hours, 37 minutes. Scott is also a past race champion, having won the Bogus Creek 150 in 2020.

At 2:00 PM on Saturday, there were 17 teams that started the 65 mile Akiak Dash with a mass start. Racers followed the K300 trail upriver to Akiak, then looped around the big island just below Akiak and then returned on the same trail.

The Akiak Dash this year did not have a checkpoint and no 1-hour layover at Akiak as in years past.

Jackie Larson has been mushing on the Kuskokwim for many years with his LJ Kennel. He won the Bogus Creek 150 race in 2007 and in 2015. He is also a Kuskokwim 300 veteran having finished the race in 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2017. In 2010 he placed 8th, his highest finish.

Larson has also previously raced in the Akiak Dash, finishing the race in 2005, 2006, 2018, and in 2020. In 2006 he narrowly missed winning the race, placing second right behind Ryan Housler of Russian Mission.

Mushing fans were up and down on the river to cheer on the teams and to see how everyone was doing. The race also featured 2019 Akiak Dash champion Terrel Andrews and 2000 champion Jim George.

Larson took over the lead late in the race, passing his cousin Greg Larson somewhere before entering Straight Slough, according to the GPS tracker. At the finish line his wife Michelle and family were waiting for him along with his granddaughters.

“I always wanted to win this,” said Larson at his finish line interview.

Jen Peeks of Bethel was the only lady musher competing in the Akiak Dash this year. She ran a team from the Kaiser Racing Kennel and placed 5th overall. Peeks is the 2012 Bogus Creek 150 champion, the first woman to win the Bogus.

By 1:03am early Sunday, all the Akiak Dash mushers that were still in the race finished in Bethel. The Red Lantern Award went to Gabriel Andrew who finished in 16th place. His time was 10 hrs. and 3 mins. Congratulations to all the finishers of the 2021 Akiak Dash.

2021 Akiak Dash Race Results – Saturday, February 13, 2021

Place/Name Finish time Elapsed time # Dogs

1 Jackie Larson 7:28pm 5:28 hours 7

2 Matt Scott 7:34pm 5:34 hours 7

3 Greg Larson 7:37pm 5:37 hours 7

4 Raymond Alexie 7:41pm 5:41 hours 7

5 Jen Peeks 7:42pm 5:42 hours 7

6 Terrell Andrews 7:43 5:43 hours 7

7 Jim George 7:48 5:48 hours 7

8 Herman Phillip 8:03pm 6:03 hours 7

9 Nicholai Napoka 8:07pm 6:07 hours 7

10 Solomon Olick 8:08pm 6:08 hours 7

11 Nicholas Ayapan 8:10pm 6:10 hours 7

12 Robert Charles Jr. 8:28pm 6:28 hours 7

13 Mike Williams Jr. 8:37pm 6:37 hours 7

14 Carl Ekamrak 8:40pm 6:40 hours 7

15 Edward Nicolai 9:59pm 7:59 hours 6

16 Gabriel Andrew 1:03am 10:03 hours 7

Gilbert Phillip, scratched