by Greg Lincoln
Congratulations to our local champions Pete Kaiser, Matt Scott, and Greg Larson who won the K300, Bogus Creek 150, and the Akiak Dash Sled Dog Races this past weekend!
And congratulations to all the teams that raced, we are in awe of you and your accomplishments and the time spent to prepare for these events, it is incredible.
On race day Friday the excitement was skyhigh as the teams started gathering for the send off for the Bogus Creek. There was still some daylight when these teams began their trek upriver.
After a short break the Kusko mushers were up. Everyone was bundled up to face the elements and the dogs looked great in their coats and booties. It was a smooth start for both races, good job starting line crews!
Folks coming to watch the start of the races wore their best furs and Yup’ik-style parkas, there were malaggaayaqs and mitts and kameksaks – all the different kinds of traditional cold weather clothing, which was very inspiring to see.
Race fans were also treated to the Lead Dog Light Show, the crowd favorite annual fireworks after the last K300 musher left to celebrate the start of the races.
On Saturday we drove upriver to Akiachak and Akiak to catch a glimpse how the Akiak Dashers were doing. The scenery was breathtaking and the mushers were relaxed and enjoying their race. We made a brief stop in Akiachak where we picked up some snacks and water. Folks were so nice, greeting us like old friends, chatting about how things were going, and making us feel like family. Quyana and many blessings to you!
The Akiak checkpoint was bustling with activity as the teams started coming in. Families were there to greet their mushers and to help with the dogs. It was an excellent day with perfect weather, beautiful ice road (thank you to the ice road maintainers/plowers), safe marked trails, and the best company anyone could ask for.
Quyana to race organizers, all the volunteers, spectators, and especially to the mushers and their teams for keeping this tradition and dog mushing culture alive and well on the Kuskokwim and beyond. Let’s keep moving forward.