by Greg Lincoln
The Kuskokwim 300 sled dog race is happening this weekend, starting on Friday January 28th, 2022. We have 16 contestants signed up for this year, the 43rd running of the K300 – Alaska’s premier mid-distance sled dog race. The race will begin on the Kuskokwim River in front of Bethel at 6:30pm.
The race features local superstars Richie Diehl of Aniak the 2021 double crown winner – K300 and Bogus Creek 150 champion, Peter Kaiser of Bethel – 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2020 K300 and 2019 Iditarod Champion, Jason Pavila of Kwethluk – the 2019 Bogus Creek 150 winner and Rookie of the Year, Father Alexander Larson of Napaskiak, Isaac Underwood of Aniak, Nate DeHaan of Bethel – Bethel’s Ninja Warrior, and John Snyder of Akiachak.
The 16 musher field also includes the 2019 K300 Champion Matthew Failor of Willow, Alaska.
2022 K300 Musher Field
(In order of registration)
Aaron Burmeister, age 46, is from Nenana and Nome. He has 28 dogs in his Alaskan Wildstyle Racing kennel. Burmeister finished the K300 eight times. His best finish was in 2012 where he placed sixth and was honored with the Humanitarian Award. His first K300 was back in 1999, he finished 18th.
Richie Diehl, age 36, hails from Aniak. He has 50 dogs in his Real Diehl Racing Kennel. He finished the K300 eleven times and is the current reigning K300 2021 Champion. Diehl is the 2011 Humanitarian Award winner. He also won the Best in the West Award in 2012, 2016, and 2021. Diehl also won the 2021 Bogus Creek 150.
Eddie Burke Jr., age 32, is from Anchorage. He has 28 dogs in his Alaska Wildstyle Racing Kennel. This is Burke’s first run in the K300. He raced in the 2021 Summit Quest 300 and the Knik 200, placing fourth in both.
Pete Kaiser, age 34, is from Bethel. He won the K300 five times. Kaiser has 35 dogs in his Kaiser Racing Kennel. He won the Iditarod in 2019. This will be his fourteenth K300 race. In 2016 he won the Humanitarian Award, numerous Best in the West Awards, and the Sportsmanship award in 2010. Kaiser is also a triple crown winner, winning all three of the K300 sponsored races – the K300, the Bogus Creek 150, and the Akiak Dash.
Matthew Failor, age 39, hails from Willow, AK. He has 50 dogs in his 17th Dog/Team Matthew Failor kennel. This will be his sixth run in the K300. He is the 2019 K300 Champion where he set a new speed record for the race at the time. He is also the 2011 Rookie of the Year and the 2018 Humanitarian Award winner.
Lev Shvarts, age 42, is from Willow, Alaska. His kennel is Team Ollie. This is his first time running the K300. He is originally from the Ukraine. Shvarts finished the Iditarod four times, his best finish was last year where he placed 17th.
Travis Beals, age 30, is from Seward, AK. He has 60 dogs in his Turning Heads Kennel. He finished the K300 in 2020 placing 16th, this will be his third time coming to the race. Beals finishing in second in the Knik 200 in 2021, he also won the Humanitarian Award. He finished the Iditarod 8 times, placing 5th in 2019.
Joar Leifseth-Ulsom, age 34, is from Willow, AK. He has 60 dogs in his Sivo Racing Kennel. He is the 2018 K300 runner-up and the 2018 Iditarod champion. He raced in the K300 six times. He is originally from Mo I Rana, Norway.
Gabe Dunham, age 36, is from Willow, AK. She has 22 dogs in her Evermore Adventures Kennel. She is the only female racer signed up for this year’s race. This is her first K300 race. She has raced in the ECX 200, Race to the sky 300, ISDC 300, Willow 300, and the Iditarod 2020.
Jason Pavila, age 18, is from Kwethluk, Alaska. He has 35 dogs in his family’s Bad River Kennel. He is the youngest musher to sign up for the K300 this year. He is the 2019 Bogus Creek 150 champion and has mushed in many of the local races including the Akiak Dash.
Fr. Alexander Larson, age 60, of Napaskiak has 19 dogs in his family’s PKA Larson Kennel. 2021 was his first time running the K300 and he placed 4th winning the Rookie of the Year Award and the Robert Ivan Sportsmanship Award. He ran the Bogus Creek 150 five times, his best finish was fourth in 2020 and 2021.
Isaac Underwood, age 41, of Aniak has 28 dogs in his family’s Underwood Kennel. He has finished the K300 six times, his best finish was last year where he placed 5th. Underwood has raced in all the local races for the past 20 years.
Nate DeHaan, age 34, of Bethel has 17 dogs in his Old Friendly Dog Farm Kennel. He ran the K300 for the first time in 2021, placing 12th. He also finished the Bogus Creek 150 in 2017 and 2018 and the Akiak Dash in 2019.
John Snyder, age 37, of Akiachak has 23 dogs in his family’s Snyder Kennel. This is his first time running the K300. Last year he finished the Bogus Creek 150, placing 15th. He also ran the 100 Mile Challenge.
Sam Brewer, age 31, is from Wasilla, AK. He has 21 dogs in his Tailwind Kennel. His wife Jessica Klejka is from Bethel. This is Brewer’s first K300 race. He finished 5th place in the Kobuk 440 in 2021.
Cim Smyth, age 45, hails from Big Lake, AK. He has 45 dogs in his Perseverance Springs Farm kennel. Smyth finished the K300 five times, his best finish was 3rd in 2014. Smyth is a 4 time Klondike 300 champion, a 4 time Tustumena 200 champion, and a Kobuk 440 champion.
Have a great race!