Nicolas Petit in Cripple

The sun was just creeping over Bornite Mountain when Nicolas Petit rode into Ambler in first position. It’s the third checkpoint in the Kobuk 440 and where mushers tend to take longer rests.

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Snowy sled dog, Ambler

Sixteen dog teams took off from Kotzebue this afternoon at the start of the 2018 Kobuk 440. Leading the pack across the sea ice was this year’s Iditarod Rookie of the Year, Jessie Holmes. Absent was Kotzebue musher Katherine Keith, although some of her kennel’s dogs will be on the trail.

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Past Iditarod champion Jeff King with his team in Shungnak during Kobuk 440. Photo: Francesca Fenzi, KNOM (2015)

Out of the 17 teams currently registered to race the 2018 Kobuk 440 — from Kotzebue to Kobuk and back, starting April 12 — about half are women. With fewer than 20 mushers on the roster, the funds remaining after the champion’s prize will be doled out among the total number of finishers at the end of the race.

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Mike Williams Sr. speaking to KNOM during 2013 Iditarod sled dog race. Photo Credit: KNOM (2013)

According to race manager Madelene Reichard, Mike Williams, Sr., has selected his alternate Thomas Carl to race in his place for the 39th running of the K300. Besides this registration swap, the newest musher to add their name to the list was Jessie Holmes. The 2018 Kuskokwim 300 begins at 6:30pm next Friday, January 19th.

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