Alaska is getting a new sled dog competition: the Delta Championship

The Kuskokwim 300
The Kuskokwim 300 is a 300-mile race from Bethel to Aniak and back. (Katie Basile/KYUK)

A new contest is coming to the Kuskokwim 300 race season this winter in Western Alaska.

The Delta Championship will be a season-long competition in which the top 10 finishers in each race, excluding the K300 and the Akiak Dash, will get points based on their finishing position, said Bethel-based race manager Paul Basile.

“We’ll keep tally of those points all year,” Basile said. “The kennel with the most points at the end of the season will be the Delta Championship Series Champion.”

The champion will win a $5,000 dog food order from Underdog Feeds and a $1,000 freight credit from Northern Air Cargo. Runners-up will also win Northern Air Cargo freight credit. Basile said that the new contest works toward the organization’s mission to support dog mushing in the region. The championship is set to kick off with the Season Opener race on Dec. 3.

“It’s the first time we’re doing it. It’ll be really interesting to see how it shakes out and how the competition shapes up throughout the season,” Basile said. “I don’t know if somebody’s going to run away with it and the winner is going to be clear by the time we get to February, or if it’ll be down to the wire and really exciting.”

Another change is coming to one of the K300 races this season. Basile said that the February 50 will be a doubles race, meaning that there will be two mushers to each team. He said that change is also meant to encourage dog mushing in the region by bringing people into a race who aren’t experienced enough to race on their own yet.

Basile said that there are 24 teams registered for the K300 itself, which kicks off on Jan. 27, 2023. The K300 is a 300-mile race from Bethel to Aniak and back.

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