Each year the Bethel Cultural Center becomes the hub of dogsled mushing, arguably there is no other place like it in the world!
Celebrating 40 races and 40 years of dogsled mushing was a beautiful thing. Over and over we heard from long time mushers and mushing legends of how the Kuskokwim area needs to be proud of the traditions that have been kept alive and revitalized by this great race.
There were celebratory words, and some with a loss of words. We said hello to new faces and goodbye to old ones. Jason Pavila, only 15 years old took home his Bogus 150 Championship, but our old friend and mentor, Nels Alexie said goodbye after so many years as the Kuskokwim 300 Race Marshall.
The Kuskokwim now resounds with more and more barking and more and more Teams participating. For now the dream that Myron Angstman had for our region has come to pass. 40 years after an idea spawned on the Iditarod trail, we all are treated to the beset of the best in this great sport.
Jeff King, the winningest K300 Champion said it. Aaron Burmeister said it. Over and over they said it– We need to be proud of this event.
If you talk to Myron Angstman or Bev Hoffman, they will tell you they are still worried. How do we make sure that this tradition stays alive and keeps going for another 40 years?
We are so lucky to have mushers like Pete, Richie, Mike Jr., and now Jason that keep the dream alive. Our job is to help them and make sure that the next generation keeps this alive!
It was a great evening. We welcomed a new face as Champion– Matt Failor, and hope to see all of our friends again next year!
Go Team Kaiser!!
Here are the photos!
Scenes from the Start, Matthew Failor’s terrific Win!, other finish line action, and of course, our own Peter Kaiser and the Team crossing the line.
Go Team Kaiser!
Team Kaiser made it across the Finish Line of the 2019 Kuskokwim 300 in the early morning hours looking like they were ready for another 300 miles. Wagging their tails and happy, the Team, the true stars of the show were just beautiful to watch.
After the excitement of the evening, the question on everyone’s mind was- “Where is Nic Petit?” Nic apparently left his tracker in Tuluksak, so we all were wondering where he was.
Matt Failor crossed the Finish Line at 7:02 to claim his first K300 Crown and then, wouldn’t you know it, there was another headlamp and Nic Petit showed up!
Nic apparently got off the trail and followed Church Slough into Bethel. Unfortunately for Nic, this slough is not part of the racecourse and the Kuskokwim 300 Race Committee has another bit of work to determine what this lapse in judgement will cost the Girdwood musher.
For Pete and the Team it means that finish order is still undetermined. Although following Petit in to Bethel, it may be that the penalty will cause the order to change. The official word from K300 is that Petit’s case is being reviewed.
So we have drama (again) at the Finish line, but that did nothing to dampen the spirits of Pete or the folks at the line. It was very cold with the windchill and one of my cameras got pretty unhappy (Sorry for the photos in advance). Pete had nothing but praise for his Team. “We made a gamble and it didn’t work out, I’m nothing but pleased with the Team’s performance,” said Pete in an interview.
After meeting and greeting, it was off to Kaiser Central (Mom and Dad’s house) where we all sat and ate scrumptious breakfast bites and contributed from friends and family. A fine finish for the Team! Everyone is very happy!
Here are the photos from the finish. (Thanks Nili and Cindy for helping out)
Go Team Kaiser!
You won’t believe this, but as Pete and Jessie battle it out heading North to the bluffs, they are within 4 miles of Matt Failor!
I was telling you folks about Race Flow. Well look at Mr. Kaiser. He has Matt Failor in his sights. Could it happen???
The Red line is Pete and the Team. The line is angled up more because he is faster. What a great race!!
OMG! So exciting!!
Excitement is heating up on the trail the morning.
Matt Failor is leading Teams towards the Finish Line and shortly will have the glow of Bethel in his view. Right behind him a battle is has been brewing all night since leaving Tuluksak. But who is in this battle? We know that Pete Kaiser is just a mile behind Jesse Holmes. The “fly in the buttermilk” is that Nic Petit’s tracker is not working and somewhere out in the night he could be part of the action. In fact, I would be surprised if he isn’t part of the action with a Team that has won most races he’s entered.
In the old days of the K300, Kwethluk was the last checkpoint of the race. In fact, many years ago during a race that Myron Angstman won, I had a group of race officials in my vehicle waiting to watch him pass through. We waited and waited and waited. I finally rolled my window down and asked a local if he had seen Myron. “Yeah,” he said, “He passed about 20 minutes ago, but you guys were sleeping and we didn’t want to wake you.” AAAAGGGHHHH!!! We roared out of the checkpoint and headed for Bethel, just sure we were going to miss the finish!!!
Without the Kwethluk checkpoint, it’s a mystery whether Nic is part of the battle for top 3.
Pete and the Team are blazing down the trail. At the rate they are going, I am expecting the Finish to begin happening before 7. Pete is within a half mile of Jessie as they are passing Kwethluk and within 3 miles of Failor.
Time to grab a quick ‘cup-a-joe’ and get out the warm duds and head to the Finish!
Wahoo, I love dogsled racing! Go Team Kaiser!!
Hi Folks! One last update and then it’s off to slumberland for a short nap to get going for tomorrow.
Pete and the Team were into Tuluksak in 4th position at 10:54pm with 11 dogs. They can return to the trail in 4 hours, or at 2:54am.
As expected, the Kaiser and Failor Teams are identical in speed, so unless something unexpected happens, Matt is in the drivers seat for 2019. BUT… But Teams in front of Mr. Kaiser should check their rear view mirror often because there’s a freight train headed for Bethel– The Kaiser Express!
Pete and the Team were 15 minutes faster over the 50 miles from Kalskag. 10 minutes in front of Pete is Nic Petit (Third Position) and 28 minutes in front is Jesse Holmes (2nd Position). Pete was faster than both Teams and if the conditions are right, I’d expect some exciting racing to happen on the trail to the finish line.
Weather is perfect, Trail is good, family and a warm bed are waiting. What’s not to like??
Go Team Kaiser!
Matt Failor was the first Team into Tuluksak at just after 10pm this evening. In Pete’s pre-race interview he thought the record might fall and it is really looking like that is the case.
Failor was into Tuluksak at 10:11pm. After a 4 hour layover he can leave at 2:11am. Add 4 hours or so to that and we will have an early morning finish!
Pete and the Team just arrived into Tuluksak about 45 minutes after the Leader in 4th position. It’s going to be an exciting finish, but set the alarm clock as it looks like the front Teams are going to beat the sunrise into Bethel in the Morning.
We are hoping to pickup at least one position on the run into Bethel, but let’s see what Mr. Kaiser has up his sleeve as they head for the Finish Line in Bethel!
GO Team Kaiser!!
Man oh Man! We got ourselves a dogsled race!
If you planned on sleeping, just forget it! Teams are out of Kalskag headed towards a 4 hour layover in Tuluksak. Pete was out in 5th position, but if you look at the statistics, Team Kaiser was second only by a few minutes to Matthew Failor on the enroute time from Aniak to Kalskag. Failor is seeming to still be the Team to beat in this year’s race. He had a bit of rest in Kalskag and his speed is consistent and fast.
Pete is trailing Failor (44min), Holmes (42min), King(29min), and Petit(24min). He departed after dropping 1 dog from Kalskag at 6:06pm.
It’s a 50 mile run to Tuluksak and the 4 hour mandatory health check and stopover.
With Teams so closely packed together we have seen all things happen and rankings change dramatically, but Pete really has his work cut out for him to make it into the top 3.
What a Race! All of the Teams have to be proud of their performances!
Go Team Kaiser! It will be on the edge of our seat for the evening.
Too bad we are going to miss the total eclipse of the sun due to the clouds!!