Nome Kennel Club hosted a 20-mile sled dog race on Saturday [Jan 16th], with the requirements being a minimum of three mushers and each team having at least eight dogs.

Before the race, Nils Hahn, one of the competing mushers, was asked about how this year was going and if he was facing any challenges.

“Not really. You know less races with COVID and stuff, but if you have dogs they want to get out and you want to go out with them so it’s a lot of fun. Every day with the dogs is a good day you know.”

– Nils Hahn

Reese Madden was first to leave, followed by Hahn, and then his wife, Diana Haecker.

The 20-mile loop race lasted just under two hours on a dry sunny afternoon. The trail was hard from this season’s snow, which has already been packed down by snow machines and other trail goers.
Nome Kennel Club’s Frank Carruthers announced the race results:

“We had Nils Hahn come in first with a time of 103 minutes and 12 seconds, Diana Haecker second with 108 minutes 56 seconds, and Reese Madden was third with 109 minutes and 16 seconds.”

– Frank Carruthers

The victor, Hahn was happy with the turnout, and especially happy with the performance he saw out of a couple of yearlings on his team.

“So that was the first time that they’ve [the dogs] seen anybody except for us. First time in the dog truck, takes them a while for them to get used to everything, but they did really well. It’s one of the reasons why they have these races, because they get a little stressed you know, first time, because they put pressure on themselves, they want to succeed and they’re really workers. They have to work through that, ’cause they know exactly what’s going on, that there is a trail to run.  That’s what they look forward to.”

– Nils Hahn

The race has a total purse of $400 in prize money.

After the race, registered 2021 Kuskokwim 300 musher, Madden reflected on what was his first race in quite some time.

“This is actually the first time I’ve been in a race, well, since I was a kid.”

– Reese Madden

Madden did have some challenges that day as his lead dog, Blue Girl, was in heat and setting a slower pace for the pack. He and his dogs are now preparing to race in the K300 in February.

Looking ahead for the Nome Kennel Club, they are planning for a 30-mile race on the 30th of January, but the trail has yet to be determined. 

Image at top: Nome Kennel Club 20-mile dog race. Photo by Sophia DeSalvo, January 2021.