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K300 lineup promises close competition

Richie Diehl

Last year’s top finishers, Richie Diehl of Aniak and Pete Kaiser of Bethel, will face off in the 2022 K300. As of Jan. 19, 16 mushers have registered for the Kuskokwim’s mid-distance sled dog race occurring Jan. 28-30.

This year, the K300 requires all mushers, handlers and on-site volunteers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Travelers from outside the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta must produce negative tests. Everyone involved must follow Bethel’s mask mandate. 

The tentative plan is for the K300 to return to the normal route, from Bethel to Aniak and back, said race manager Paul Basile on Jan. 3. He predicts the route might be adjusted for COVID-19 precautions. While mushers and assigned volunteers will be allowed to enter indoor areas at the checkpoints in Tuluksak, Kalskag and Aniak, the public will not be permitted.

Joining Diehl and Kaiser as returning top finishers from last year are Isaac Underwood and 2021 rookie of the year Fr. Alexander Larson. Five rookies will compete this year: Lev Shvarts, Sam Brewer, Gabe Dunham, Jason Pavila and John Snyder. Of the top five 2020 finishers, Mathew Failor and Joar Leifseth-Ulsom join the lineup. Also representing Western Alaska in this year’s K300 is Aaron Burmeister of Nome.

Tune into KNOM 780 AM, 96.1 FM to hear the latest K300 race information and who’s where on the trail. Official race updates will be at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., starting on Friday, Jan. 28 at 6 p.m. and finishing off at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 30.

Photo at the top: Last year’s K300 winner Richie Diehl returns for the 2022 K300. Photo by Greg Lincoln/The Delta Discovery. Used with permission Jan. 21, 2022.

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