Rookie musher Pavila wins Bogus Creek 150

Three generations of mushers: From left is Max Olick, his grandson Jason Pavila, and dad Lewis Pavila. Jason, age 15, won the Bogus Creek 150 last Saturday. photo by Greg Lincoln

First place winner of the Bogus Creek 150 race is Jason Pavila of Kwethluk. At only 15 years of age, he is this year’s top rookie. This is his first year mushing this race. He mushes out of Kwethluk with his family’s Bad River Kennel. His dad, Lewis Pavila, is a 4-time winner of the Bogus Creek 150 race with titles in 2005, 2009, 2013, and 2017. According to reports, Jason had to receive special permission to race the Bogus due to his age. Jason crossed the finish line at 7:55:04am with a total elapsed time of 16:37 with 9 dogs.

Pavila followed Manutoli up the river, learning how to pace his dogs, he said. On the way back he had to change one of his leaders 5 miles from the finish. He found out at Straight Slough that he was in the lead from a fan on the river.

“I wanted to win but I mostly wanted just to finish,” said Pavila.

Coming in second is 61-year old George Manutoli of Akiachak racing a team from Bethel musher John Simon’s Glare Ice Kennels. He left the Bogus Creek checkpoint at 3:05am on Saturday morning, followed by Pavila at 3:06am. Manutoli is the 2018 Akiak Dash Champion. He is also a Bogus Creek 150 winner, he won back in 1998 with a time of 16:47. He finished 8 minutes after Pavila with 10 dogs.

Manutoli said that Pavila was on his tail all the way up to the Bogus Creek checkpoint. After leaving Bogus, Manutoli said he let him pass. Later on he almost caught up to Pavila near Kwethluk.

“I almost did right by the Y, then he took off again,” the soft-spoken Manutoli said. “I think I had a chance to catch him but he has a good team.”

Manutoli’s team had just won the Frank Nurauq Memorial Dog Race in Akiak.

Third place finisher was Niklas Wikstrand. He finished with an elapsed time of 16:58 and 10 dogs. Wikstrand races for Team Kaiser of Bethel. In 2017 he placed 2nd in this race.

Taking the red lantern award is Elden Westdahl of Bethel. He finished with 8 dogs.

Mushers raced up 75 miles to the Bogus Creek checkpoint where they spent their mandatory 4-hour layover before heading back down the trail to Bethel.

2019 Bogus Creek Race Results

1st Jason Pavila 16:37

2nd George Manutoli 16:45

3rd Niklas Wikstrand 16:58

4th Cameron Jackson 17:11

5th Robert Larson 17:55

6th Alexander Larson 18:10

7th Nicholai Napoka 19:47

8th Elden Westdahl 22:14