Richie Diehl of Aniak took fifth in the 2017 Kobuk 440, followed by Kotzebue’s Katherine Keith. Kevin Hansen, also of Kotzebue, took 11th. The arrival of the Red Lantern will close both the 2017 Kobuk race and, effectively, the 2017 sled dog racing season in western Alaska.
Kobuk 440 race coordinator Carmen Daggett says the first teams are expected to cross the finish line in Kotzebue sometime late Sunday or early Monday.
Senate Bill 91 is the first bill Governor Walker signed into law in 2017. It allows the State of Alaska to use federal funds for distributing naloxone. Also, two mushers from this year’s Iditarod sled dog race brought attention to the opioid epidemic by carrying opioid overdose rescue kits in their sleds along the trail.
Among the special awards at the Sunday banquet were two given to Jessie Royer: the Leonhard Seppala Humanitarian Award and the Most Inspirational Musher Award.
Competitive jockeying is happening up and down the Iditarod leaderboard as mushers begin to traverse the Norton Sound coast.
This will be Royer’s rookie run in the Yukon Quest, although she’s been running dogs for 25 years. She has claimed a spot in the top 20 in Iditarod the past three years in a row – with her best run in 2015, taking 4th place.
A diverse roster of competitors from around the world will be kicking off the 34th annual Yukon Quest — from Whitehorse, Yukon Territory to Fairbanks — on February 4th.
The countdown is on for the start of the 2017 Iditarod Sled-dog race on March 4th.
Early Sunday, Nicolas Petit won the Kobuk 440, marking the coda not only of the mid-distance sled dog race but also of the 2016 mushing season in Alaska.
In Ambler on Friday, Kobuk 440 mushers focused on their dogs’ rest, pacing, and the trail ahead. Near the mid-point of the 440-mile course, it’s still anyone’s race.