Bridgett Watkins won the 2017 Nome-Council 200. The annual sled dog race spans about 160 miles, a round-trip route from Nome to Council and back.
It’s the time of year for the sled dog and snowmachine races that traverse the rural wilds of Alaska and captivate the attention of people across the state. Race season is back.
On Thursday, it was an enthusiastic send-off for sled dog teams and mushers as they left the start line of the Kobuk 440.
Dog teams will pass through six Western Alaska villages. The winner is expected across the finish line on Saturday.
Hansen won the race after one day, eight hours, and five minutes on the trail. That’s about five hours faster than second-place finisher, Diana Haecker of Nome.
The Nome-Council 200 begins Saturday at 10 a.m. Challenging Nome’s Diana Haecker and Stephanie Johnson is Paul Hansen of Kotzebue.
Champion Dallas Seavey also earned top honors, taking home $75,000 and a new truck for his first-place finish.
The 44th Iditarod starts on Saturday in downtown Anchorage; competitive racing begins at the Sunday restart in Willow.
The Kuskokwim 300 starts this Friday, and Diana Haecker will be running the race for the first time.
The race’s roster includes 11 rookies and 14 veteran mushers, including defending champion Brent Sass of Eureka.