What a great Start! I have been covering dog races for many years and you just don’t get calm winds, warm temps (but not too warm!) and a relaxed atmosphere.
The crowd started forming about 5:30 and by 6:00pm there were at least 100 vehicles lined up to see the mass Start of the 2021 Kuskokwim 300. In a Mass Start, mushers watch the starting flag and when it drops, away they go! We got to see how it would work during the Bogus Creek 150 and the only thing missing in this race was the sun.
My how the daylight is increasing! Usually the K300 starts on the third Friday of January or so and at 6:30 it is pretty dark. Add a few weeks and the change was dramatic.
The Starting Line of a dogsled race is really a celebration in many ways. After months of hard work and a summer of tending the Team, mushers and dogs alike are ready to show their stuff. For support crews it’s the culmination of lots of time and energy and once the Teams leave it’s BREAK TIME!! I’m sure that’s why each year, just after Teams have left fans are treated to an amazing Fireworks show put on by the Kuskokwim 300 race committee.
A few noteables from the Starting line-
- Our friend Josh Cadzow is back in Bethel to try his luck on the race course. Josh is an amazing musher from Fort Yukon. Thanks to his family, he was able to travel here to compete. Welcome back!
- Our most awesome Host Family, the Maddens, have sent down Reese Madden to try his luck as well. “I’m a little short handed, but I’m here to give it a go!” said Reese. I imagine Bob and Sherrie will be tuned in to check out his progress! Welcome as well!
- This last noteable is a really big one– Master Ari Kaiser, who has spent his whole life as part of the Kaiser Race Team is now promoted to lead poop scooper! AWESOME!! We have followed young Mr. Kaiser’s progress each year and I personally get to spend time with him during the races. Some day we will be able to say we saw it first. Bottom rung on the ladder always starts with dog poop in a Race Team, but we hope to see great things from this young man!! Way to go Ari! Thanks from the Team!!
Here are the photos from tonight’s festivities. It should be a pretty great race. Pete said he had been expecting a slow trail after all of the snow we just had, but then a warm spell and a bit of rain hardened the trail and may make rather speedy. We shall see!