by Tommy Wells
Jessica Klejka turned in an outstanding performance this weekend at the Kobuk 440 sled dog race. The Bethel standout guided her team to a fourth-place finish in one of the state’s top events, which was held in Kotzebue and the surrounding villages.
One of 16 mushers to begin the race on April 12, Klejka completed the 440-mile race by driving her team across the finish line on Kotzebue at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, April 15. Her final time in the race was 49 hours, 59 minutes.
Klejka grew up racing sled dogs in Bethel. She hopes to qualify for the Iditarod. “A very big thanks to my family and to my husband,” she wrote.
Nicholas Petit continued his dominating season on the sled with his fifth victory of the year. He turned in a winning time of 39:38.0 and easily edged out Tony Browning and Ellen King, respectively.