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Wilson Hoogendorn Wins 2024 Nome-Golovin Snowmachine Race

Competitors of the 2024 Nome Golovin snowmachine race wait at the start line as a helicopter hovers in the background. Janice Homekingkeo photo.

March 20, 2024

Janice Homekingkeo, Communications Director

Ben Townsend, News Director

Huddled together in groups scattered across the frigid sea ice running parallel to Front Street, nearly 100 people cheered as rookie Wilson Hoogendorn claimed victory in this year’s Nome-Golovin snowmachine race. The annual race, known for its challenging terrain and unpredictable weather, was scheduled to begin on Saturday, March 10 but was postponed to Sunday due to 70 mph winds near Topkok. 

This year’s race saw Hoogendorn finish in 2:04:04, just over two minutes faster than second place finisher Mike Morgan. Hoogendorn, a resident of Nome, has gained both local and national celebrity status from appearances on USA Network’s “Race to Survive Alaska” and Discovery Channel’s “Bering Sea Gold” television shows. 

The conditions this year led to a delayed start with the event traditionally held on the second Saturday of March being postponed until Sunday. Kevin McDaniel-Farley, the youngest racer in this year’s event at age 16, found the area near the Topkok blowhole particularly challenging due to the low visibility. 

“It was real windy, I can barely see in front of me.” McDaniel-Farley said. With the rough conditions bumping McDaniel-Farley up and down from his seat, he kept his mind centered on his goal of finishing the race. “I just try not to think about it and just go and be prepared for the next one.”

This year’s red lantern was Tony Haugen Jr., finishing in three hours and eight minutes. After the treacherous winds near the Topkok blowhole blew his windshield off of his snowmachine, Haugen Jr thought about his family and refocused on his goal of finishing. 

“My arms were dead from trying to hold on to my snow machine. Once I saw that windshield go off I was thinking about going back but I was thinking about what my parents would have thought of me just turning around right there.” Haugen said. “So I decided to just go ahead and finish the race.”

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