Kuskokwim 300 Sled Dog Race Postponed

Thomas Carl of Akiak, originally of Toksook Bay, leaves the starting chute during his first K300 sled dog race.

by the K300 Race Committee

In light of the ongoing “lockdown” mandates and recommendations in effect throughout the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, the Kuskokwim 300 Race Committee has decided to postpone the 2021 K300.

Originally scheduled to start on Friday, January 15th, the race is now slated to begin on Friday, February 12th. The Bogus Creek 150 and Akiak Dash are postponed as well and planned for the same weekend.

Throughout the months-long process of planning a dramatically modified K300, the Race Committee has regularly consulted with health experts at the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation and will continue to do so as their focus shifts to a February event. While the Committee remains hopeful that the circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic in Alaska and the Y-K Delta will improve by then, it is possible that the race will be postponed again, and it may ultimately be canceled.

21 mushers are currently signed up for the K300 and their registration automatically carries to the February race. Anyone who cannot commit to the new date or who chooses to opt out will receive a full refund of registration fees. If the race ends up being canceled, all racers will receive a full refund.

The Race Committee’s series of shorter “Local Races” is delayed too. The “Season Opener” (December 19) and “Holiday Classic” (December 26) are postponed until further notice. The current hope is that these events can start up in January with strict safety protocols in place.

A core aspect of the K300’s mission is to help sustain the tradition of dog mushing in Southwest Alaska. As such, in a worst-case scenario, where it is determined that there is no safe time or method for any racing this winter, the Race Committee is committed to assisting the mushers who rely on income from K300 races to support the operation of their kennels. There are no details to share for any such program at this time but the Committee will continue to explore this as the coming months unfold.

In 41 years, the K300 has never been cancelled and the call to postpone for any reason other than weather is unprecedented. This decision demonstrates how cautiously the Race Committee has approached planning an event during this incredibly challenging time. The first priority has been and will continue to be the health and safety of Y-K Delta communities. But for the mushers who rely on K300 races for income and for fans who could desperately use something to look forward to, the K300 Race Committee will remain hopeful and flexible and continue planning for the 2021 season.