Kuskokwim 300 sled dog race is still on

A musher in a big parka races down a river with some dead grass on the river bank in the background.
Brent Sass mushes in the YK-300 in January, 2017. (Katie Basile / KYUK)

Mushing is still on for the Y-K Delta.

On Sept. 11, the Kuskokwim 300 Race Committee announced that the Kuskokwim 300, Bogus Creek 150 and Akiak Dash, along with the usual five local races, are all on the schedule for this winter. But there will be some changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The race committee’s news release said that mushers, or anyone traveling to Bethel for the K300, will need to bring a recent, negative COVID-19 test result, and also take another rapid test upon arrival.

Also different this winter, mushers and handlers, who usually stay at local homes, will be provided lodging away from the Bethel community. All the dog teams will be kept in a lot together with 24-hour monitoring.

Normally during the races, mushers rest at checkpoints in Tuluksak, Kalskag, and Aniak. The race committee said it’s working with those communities to see if that is a possibility this year. If not, mushers may be using temporary camps as checkpoints rather than entering those villages.

Indoor events in Bethel, like the bib number drawing and the awards ceremony, will not be open to the public. Instead, they will be live-streamed on the internet.

The K300 Race Committee stressed the race’s importance, saying in their news release: “The K300 Sled Dog Race is a light in the dark of winter. Now, more than ever, we could use a little light.”

The 42nd annual K300 race is scheduled to begin Jan. 15, 2021. Registration opens Oct. 5.