2024 Kuskokwim 300 caps stacked field at 30 teams
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - After just 10 days, registration for the 45th annual Kuskokwim 300 Sled Dog Race has reached its capacity of 30 teams.
The K300 Race Committee instituted the cap about eight years ago and says it has never been met — until now. The 2024 field in the premiere mid-distance sled dog race features some heavy hitters of the mushing world, and a total purse of $185,000 — with the winner taking home $28,500.
Jeff King is the winningest musher in Kuskokwim 300 history with nine titles, and he’s chasing a tenth in 2024. His first crack at the K300 came in 1988 and his first victory in 1991. The most recent King win came in 2013 while his last attempt was in 2021 where he placed sixth. King is a four-time Iditarod champion and the most decorated musher in the field.
Bethel’s Pete Kaiser is right on King’s tail as a seven-time Kuskokwim 300 winner and is the two-time defending champion. Being from the region, Kaiser is more than familiar with the area than other mushers. Kaiser won four straight races from 2015 to 2018 and has finished either first or second in nine consecutive K300s. He is also a perennial Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race contender and 2019 champion of the Last Great Race.
The last musher not named Kaiser to win the Kuskokwim 300 is 2021 champion Richie Diehl of Aniak, another musher who is well-acquainted with the race trail. Diehl has been competing in the K300 since 2011 with seven top-5 finishes. He is also a 10-time finisher of the Iditarod.
Matthew Failor, the 2019 Kuskokwim 300 champion and elapsed time record holder enters his eighth K300. Since 2018, Failor has finished no worse than seventh with three runner-up finishes. He has completed the Iditarod 11 times with a top-10 finish in 2023.
Sass, of Eureka, enters his 5th Kuskokwim 300, placing 14th in 2023 and runner-up in 2016 and 2017. Sass, one of just six mushers to win both the Iditarod and Yukon Quest, will be a contender for the 2024 K300 title.
Holmes returns to the K300 after a three-year hiatus, having placing third in 2019 after just two previous entries. He is a two-time Kobuk 440 champion and has secured top-5 finishes in the Iditarod each of the last two years.
Burmeister comes out of ‘retirement’ to enter the 2024 Kuskokwim 300, 25 years after his first attempt. Burmeister has seen six top-10 finishes in the K300 and seven in the Iditarod.
Eddie Burke Jr.
Burke Jr., the protégé-turned-competitor of Burmeister, is entering his third K300 after a top-3 finish last year and placing twelfth in his rookie season the previous year. Burke followed up a 2023 Knik 200 win with a seventh place finish in the Iditarod, good enough to earn him Rookie of the Year status.
Petit will participate in his fifth Kuskokwim 300 in 2024 after seeing a third place finish in 2021 and a fourth place finish in 2019. A five-time Willow 300 champion and contender in any race he enters, Petit as seen six top-10 finishes in the Iditarod including runner-up in 2018.
After a strong 2023 mushing season, Hunter Keefe tosses his hat into the K300 ring for the first time. Keefe, a former handler for Petit, finished runner-up in the Willow 300 before seeing an eleventh place finish in the 2023 Iditarod.
Klejka of Bethel has seen top-10 finishes in both K300 attempts placing eigth in 2021 and tenth in 2023. She is also an Iditarod finisher who has participated in other mid-distance races such as the Kobuk 440 and Knik 200.
Beals was the first musher to sign up for the 2024 Kuskokwim 300 with a fourth place finish in 2022. Beals, of Seward, strung together three consecutive top-10 finishes in the Iditarod from 2018 to 2020.
Alexie was the most accomplished musher in the Delta Championship Series last season, winning all six races and the Akiak Dash and Bogus Creek 150. This will be the Kwethluk native’s first crack at the Kuskokwim 300.
Ebbe Winstrup Pedersen
Ebbe Winstrup Pedersen is a Norwegian musher with Iditarod musher Joar Leifseth Ulsom’s kennel. He raced in the 2022 Kobuk 440, but this will be his first run at the Kuskokwim 300.
Joe Taylor of Fairbanks has seen races such as the Yukon Quest 300, Copper Basin 300 and the Iditarod, but this will be his first attempt at the K300.
Akiachak’s Snyder completed his first 300 mile race at the 2020 Kusko and has competed in other local races such as the Bogus Creek 150. In 2023, he placed 17th in the K300.
Turner of Fairbanks has three top-10 finishes in the Kuskokwim 300 including Rookie of the Year in 2020. He is also a Yukon Quest 300 and Two Rivers 200 champion.
Ester’s own Josh McNeal has completed the Kobuk 440 and the Iditarod in 2021. This will be his second attempt at the K300 after placing 16th in 2023.
KattiJo Deeter is an Iditarod finisher from Interior Alaska who will be running her first K300 in 2024 along side her husband Jeff Deeter.
Jeff Deeter saw a seventh place finish in his first K300 in 2023 and is signed up for his second crack at it in 2024. He is a five-time Iditarod finisher.
Willow’s Duham has been working with sled dogs for more than 20 years and placed in the top-10 in her first K300 in 2022.
Lev Shvarts will be competing in his third consecutive Kuskokwim 300 after top-15 finishes in each of his first two years. He is also a five-time Iditarod finisher.
Dyche is a three-time Iditarod finisher who will be competing in his first Kuskokwim 300 in 2024.
Smyth of Big Lake has been competing in the K300 since 1996, where he placed fifth overall. This will be his eighth Kusko race, with his best finish coming in 2014 at third. He has been mushing for more than 40 years and has 13 Iditarod finishes in his career, including top-5 in 2009.
Aniak’s Isaac Underwood has competed in local races including the Akiak Dash, Bogus Creek 150 with a total of ten K300 finishes including a top-5 in 2021.
Father Alexander Larson
Larson of Napaskiak completed his first 300 mile race in 2021 when he took 4th overall at the Kuskokwim 300. He will be competing in his third K300 after placing tenth last year.
Pavila of Kwethluk is a Bogus Creek 150 champion and 2022 K300 Rookie of the Year attempting his second K300 in 2024.
Mike Williams Jr.
Mike Williams Jr. is a K300 veteran with 13 finishes under his belt. This will be his first attempt since 2019, with a runner-up finish in 2011.
Schlosser took the coveted 30th and finals spot of the Kuskokwim 300 roster. This will be the second K300 for the Willow musher who placed 17th in 2020. He also finished the 2021 Iditarod.
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