Nineteen-year-old Raymond Alexie of Kwethluk coasted to victory in an impressive fashion on Saturday in the first race of the Kuskokwim 300 mushing season. Alexie beat the second place finisher, veteran Pete Kaiser of Bethel, by 14 minutes. Jackie Larson of Napaskiak came in third place.
Twenty-one mushers competed in the 32-mile race, which ran over the tundra trail from Bethel to Atmautluak and back. Racers reported varied conditions, with the trail being quite good close to Bethel, but severely windblown as they got closer to Atmautluak. Some teams struggled to cross large lakes of glare ice as they were battered by a significant crosswind.
With his victory, Alexie gets off to a great start in the new Delta Championship Series, posting 10 points for the season-long competition. He also took home a check for $2,700, the top prize for the race which had a total purse of $20,000 split amongst the top 15 finishers.