The Kuskokwim 300 attracts big names; readies for race of the year

by K300 Race Committee Staff

The 41st annual Kuskokwim 300 Sled Dog Race is set to start in just 7 days, on Friday January 17, 2020 at 6:30 PM. The legendary middle distance race starts in Bethel, AK and follows historic trails up the Kuskokwim River to Aniak, AK, then returns downriver to Bethel.

Boasting a $160,000 purse, one of the biggest in all of dog-mushing, the Kusko 300 consistently attracts some of the biggest names in the sport but this year’s field may be the race’s most impressive yet.

Four Iditarod Champions will take to the trail, including Jeff King (4), Lance Mackey (4), Joar Leifseth Ulsom and reigning champion Pete Kaiser.

Two Yukon Quest Champions will also participate, including Mackey (4) and Matt Hall, not to mention the four Kusko 300 champs in the race; King (9), Kaiser (4), Ramey Smith and defending champion Matthew Failor.

The race, which will include several other perennial top finishers such as Nicholas Petit, Richie Diehl, Wade Marrs, Aaron Burmeister and Tony Browning, is sure to be highly competitive as racers vie for the top prize of $25,000.

A recent cold snap, one of the longest and most severe to hit the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta in years, has setup the trail with thick river ice in an area that has recently been plagued by increasingly warm winters.

Kusko 300 trail markers report some sections of rough trail – there is little snow on the ground – but overall, conditions are good. More snow is forecasted for this weekend.

The Kuskokwim 300 is one of the biggest annual events in Bethel, a town of about 7,000 in Southwest Alaska. The race is almost entirely staffed by volunteers – vets, checkpoint workers, race officials, cooks, and much more.

This is a community effort and anticipation of the race (and the spectacle that surrounds it) is building.

But this race isn’t only for residents of Southwest Alaska. Increasingly, the Kusko 300 attracts fans from all over world who obsess over the race website’s “tracker” feature and find themselves drawn into the drama playing out on a remote Alaskan trail through their phones and computers.

Join them at