Jackie Larson wins 50 Mile Challenge sled dog race

The Kuskokwim 300 race committee hosted the 50-Mile Challenge on March 19th, 2022 and the winner of the race is Jackie Larson of Napaskiak.

“Twelve teams competed on a fast 50 mile trail from Bethel, up the Gweek River and back today, with Jackie Larson besting the field. It was a beautiful day on the Kuskokwim and another great race!” wrote the K300.

Larson, mushing with his family’s LJ Kennel, finished the race in 3 hours 38 minutes. Coming in second was Jim George of Kwethluk with a time of 3 hours 51 minutes. Victoria Hardwick of Bethel also raced, winning the Red Lantern Award. Her time was 4 hours 59 minutes.

The 50 Mile Challenge was originally planned as the 100 Mile Challenge. Mushers expressed concern for racing their dogs 100 miles on icy trails. The race began with a staggered start near the mouth of the small boat harbor at 11:00 AM, but closer to the bank than the usual location (near the Old Barge). Racers drew numbers upon arrival at the start line and lined up in that order. In light of the reduced mileage the race was adjusted to be an 8 dog race.

From the start mushers closely hugged the left bank as they headed upriver on the Kuskokwim. They continued up the Gweek River, hugging the banks where there is snow, with just 3 or 4 river crossings. The halfway point featured a well-marked turnaround where mushers headed back to Bethel following the same route.

“We’d like to acknowledge two individuals who helped recover lost teams during the race. Matt Scott, who was a spectator today and Nate DeHaan, who stopped his own race to assist, both stopped and held dog teams who had been separated from their mushers,” said the K300 race organizers.

Racers competed for a purse of $20,000 with a prize of $2,700 going to the winner.

50 Mile Challenge Sled Dog Race Results

March 19, 2022

Musher Time Payout

1 Jackie Larson 3:38 $2,700

2 Jim George 3:51 $2,450

3 Lewis Pavilla 3:54 $2,250

4 Isaac Underwood 3:57 $2,050

5 Keith Ekamrak 4:04 $1,850

6 Michael Williams Jr. 4:05 $1,700

7 Jonathan Simon 4:08 $1,450

8 Eddie James 4:37 $1,250

9 Nate DeHaan 4:43 $1,050

10 Solomon Olick 4:44 $900

11 Victoria Hardwick 4:59 $750

12 Leighton Wassillie scratched