Raymond Alexie wins Bogus Creek 150 Sled Dog Race

a musher poses with two sled dogs
Raymond Alexie of Kwethluk crossed the finish line at 9:03 a.m. winning his second consecutive Bogus Creek 150. Photographed Feb. 11, 2024 in Bethel. (MaryCait Dolan/KYUK)

Kwethluk’s Raymond Alexie successfully defended his title in the 2024 Bogus Creek 150 Sled Dog Race on Sunday, beating out 14 other teams to win the race in just over 18 hours. Twenty-year-old Alexie arrived at the finish line at sunrise, shortly after 9 a.m., with his 10-dog team led by Apollo and Scotty.

“I’m tired and sore,” Alexie told KYUK reporter Evan Erickson and Yugtun interpreter Charlie Charlie at the finish. “I [was] mainly kicking, and ski-poling, and running coming back through the Kuskokwim.”

“Kiatmun assillruuq. (Going up it was good),” Alexie said of his run. “It was smoother than coming back. Coming back was a challenge because of the headwind and wet snow, and kuigmun pillemni drag-araqlukek slide-agka (when I got to the river, I’d drag my slides) and I got really slow.”

It’s his third win of the regional racing season. Alexie also won the Kuskokwim 300 Race Committee’s Season Opener and the Holiday Classic this year. He scratched from this year’s Kuskokwim 300 about two-thirds of the way into the race.

a group of people and a sled dog pose for a photo outside
Raymond Alexie with his family and dog handlers at the Bogus Creek 150 finish line. (MaryCait Dolan/KYUK)

Throughout the first half of the Bogus 150, Alexie worked his way up the field and arrived at the Bogus Creek checkpoint in the lead, just one minute ahead of rookie Darren George, who was hot on Alexie’s tail. Alexie grew that narrow lead throughout the second half of the race and said that he was focused on the race and wasn’t aware of anyone behind him.

“I just took off from the checkpoint and left whoever was behind me there,” Alexie said.

Ultimately, Alexie finished around 5 miles — and 45 minutes — ahead of the second-place competitor, Bethel musher Pete Kaiser.

a musher and his dog team on a snowy, flat river
Bethel’s Pete Kaiser cruises toward the finish line. (MaryCait Dolan/KYUK)

Kaiser said that for him, the 2024 Bogus Creek 150 was a smooth and uneventful race.

“Actually, a lot of the race didn’t really even feel like a race because I was kind of by myself for a lot of it,” Kaiser said. “But yeah, it was good. I was hoping for a little snow to slow things down a bit and we got it.”

Kaiser is a little over two weeks out from the Iditarod, and told KYUK before this year’s Bogus Creek 150 that he would be running the race with a lot of flexibility and would try to keep the pace easy, keeping in mind that his dogs have a much longer, slower race right on the horizon. While the Super Bowl was set to kick off a few hours after his finish, Kaiser said that his plan wasn’t necessarily to watch.

“Probably take a nap, but have a cup of coffee first or something? I don’t know. We’ll see,” said Kaiser.

The Bogus Creek 150’s Rookie of the Year, 48-year-old Darren George of Akiachak, came in third place, with lead dog Coco heading up his team.

“Assillruuq. Assillruuq tumyaraq. (It was good. The trail was good),” George told KYUK interpreter Charlie Charlie.

“Qanikcarluni? (There was snow?)” Charlie asked.

“Yaa. Qanikcaq, cikuq. (Yes. Snow and ice),” George said.

Asked how he planned to celebrate his Rookie of the Year win in the Bogus 150, George said that he was looking forward to some rest.

a group of people stand out in the snow, near a truck
The crowd is filled with anticipation as Robert Charles Jr. approaches the finish line of the 2024 Bogus Creek 150, followed closely by Fr. Alexander Larson. (MaryCait Dolan/KYUK)

The run up to Bogus

Bogus Creek 150 newcomers had a strong showing in the first quarter of the race, as rookie Sigurd Napoka leapfrogged for first place with former winner Mike Williams Jr. (2006) and Aaron Alexie, who was making his second attempt at a Bogus Creek 150 finish after scratching in 2010.

Leaders started out the race at a clip of between 8 and 10 miles per hour, in spite of accumulating snow.

For the most part the field stuck together. They were within a couple of miles of each other up the first part of the trail to Bogus Creek, with the exception of a brief detour back to the start line by Akiachak musher Tory Fitzpatrick just after the race began to drop a dog.

In the second quarter of the race, a split started to form between a lead pack of mushers and the rest of the field.

two sled dogs
Sled dogs at the finish of the Bogus Creek 150. (MaryCait Dolan/KYUK)

Rookie George surged forward to lead for a chunk of the race’s second-quarter run into Bogus Creek, while defending champion Alexie steadily climbed up the leaderboard throughout the evening.

Coming into the mandatory four-hour rest at the Bogus Creek checkpoint, 28 minutes separated the top six competitors.

Alexie and his 10 dogs were the first to reach the halfway point, but George was hot on his heels, just a minute behind.

The run to the finish

While Alexie stretched his lead throughout the second half of the Bogus Creek 150, the race behind the winner was competitive. Kaiser steadily gained throughout the second half to pass Aaron Alexie (fifth place) and George (third place), and ultimately come in second.

The other Kaiser Racing Kennel team, run by Aniak’s Richie Diehl, also steadily picked off teams throughout the early morning to secure fourth place.

Other mushers found themselves leapfrogging back and forth throughout the final 75 miles, like seventh and eighth place Jason Pavila and Napoka, and ninth and 10th place Robert Charles Jr. and Fr. Alexander Larson. Charles Jr. and Larson finished the race within less than a second of each other.

Byron Pasitnak Jr. did not finish the race. According to the race tracker, he stopped right after coming off the Gweek River in the final stretch of the trail. Race managers did not announce a reason for Pasitnak Jr.’s decision to scratch.

Find the final standings for all 15 teams here, and watch a replay of the team trackers here.

three men hold up their pointer finger for a celebratory photo
2024 Bogus Creek 150 champion Raymond Alexie (center) poses with Harry Alexie (left) and Fr. Alexander Larson (right). (MaryCait Dolan/KYUK)

A race of former winners and rookies

The 15-team field was a fairly even split between former champions and racers new to the Bogus Creek 150.

The six former winners competing included defending champion Raymond Alexie, Pete Kaiser, Richie Diehl, Jason Pavila, Mike Williams Jr., and Fr. Alexander Larson.

Almost half of the 15 teams had never run the race before: Charlie Chingliak, Byron Pasitnak Jr., Kenneth Snyder, Darren George, Sigurd Napotka, and Robert Charles Jr.

In addition, one team had started the race more than a decade ago but scratched. Aaron Alexie didn’t finish the Bogus Creek 150 the one other time he registered in 2010.

This year’s Bogus Creek 150 was overall a slower race than last year’s. Winner Alexie finished just over two hours slower than his winning time in 2023. That was in part due to variable weather and a snowier trail. Second-place musher Kaiser reported shifting weather conditions.

“It snowed on us a few times. Pretty heavy snow squalls, some wind at the end, so a little bit of everything,” Kaiser said.

Alexie takes home at least $12,000 from a $75,000 total race purse. It’s a 25% increase compared to last year’s Bogus Creek 150 purse, and cements its position as one of the largest purses in the sport after the Iditarod and Kuskokwim 300.

Alexie’s Bogus Creek 150 win also brings him closer to another win in the Kuskokwim 300’s Delta Championship Series, which he swept in its inaugural year. The next in the five-race series is the February 50 Doubles, scheduled for Feb. 24.

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