A field of 12 mushers are signed up to compete in this year’s Kobuk 440 Sled Dog Race, set to depart from Kotzebue on Thursday, April 6 at 12:30 p.m.
The 2022 winner, Hugh Neff, is set to return along with mushers who have taken part in past Iditarods and other major races.
The 2023 race trail features a nearly 440-mile loop from Kotzebue to Kobuk and back. Mushers will push through Noorvik, Kiana, Ambler, Shungnak, and Kobuk before turning back to Shungnak, Ambler, Selawik and Noorvik on the way to reaching the finish line in Kotzebue.
Ryan Redington, the 2023 Iditarod winner and 2019 champion of the Kobuk 440 is sitting out this year’s competition. Richie Diehl, who finished third in this year’s Iditarod, will run the race. Fifth-place Iditarod 2023 finisher Jesse Holmes is also set to mush this year.
Race organizers expect a winner either Sunday, April 9 or Monday, April 10. Mushing fans can follow the action at the Kobuk 440 website.
The Kobuk 440 has taken place every spring since 1988, except for 2020.
Image at top: A Kobuk 440 sled dog rests in straw while other teams stand ready to leave the starting line in Kotzebue. Photo by Emily Hofstaedter, KNOM.