Nic Petit takes fifth Willow 300 victory

FastCast digital headlines for Friday, Jan. 27, 2023.
Published: Jan. 27, 2023 at 6:27 PM AKST
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WILLOW, Alaska (KTUU) - Veteran musher Nic Petit has won the 2023 Willow 300 sled dog race.

Petit crossed the finish line with 10 dogs in harness at 2:02 p.m. on Friday afternoon.

The victory is Petit’s fifth win in the annual race, having been the first to cross the finish line in 2021, 2020, 2019, and 2018. In 2021, Petit finished second to Will Rhodes, who runs Mackey’s Alaskan Distance Dogs with his wife Brenda Mackey.

Finishing just behind Petit in this year’s race was Petit’s former handler Hunter Keefe, who ran with dogs belonging to longtime musher Raymie Redington.

While Petit and his dogs received the race win in the Willow 200, the shorter Willow 150′s red lantern — given to the last musher to cross the finish line — was awarded to Artyom Krutikov. Krutikov is originally from Belarus and previously handled dogs for Petit, but ran the Willow 3000 with a team comprised of dogs from Petit’s and the late Lance Mackey’s kennels.

Petit and Keefe are scheduled to compete in the 2023 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race which holds its ceremonial start in Downtown Anchorage on March 4.