K300 mushers, fans, and volunteers packed themselves into Bethel’s cultural center on Monday night for the 2018 banquet and awards ceremony.
Matthew Failor won the race’s Eddie Hoffman Humanitarian Award. Head K300 Veterinarian Mike Kubera said that while all of the mushers were truly dedicated to their dogs, Failor’s attention to detail stood out. For Failor, the award was an unexpected surprise.
"I’m kind of speechless, he said, beginning to choke up. "I love my dogs. I’m very happy to have participated in this event, so thank you."
Failor placed fifth in this year’s K300. Race winner Pete Kaiser also won the Best in the West, and Robert Larson and Thomas Carl won Rookie of the Year for the Bogus 150 and K300 respectively. In his acceptance speech, Larson thanked God and his sponsor Jackie Larson’s dogs.
"After the whole experience I thought, 'no wonder his dogs have names like Merlin, Pegasus, or Unicorn,'" he said."The dogs started looking at each other; they were starting to seesaw. And then I heard a bark, and then I almost flew off the sled because we were sprinting so hard."
Carl Ekamrak won the Red Lantern in the Bogus 150 with a time of 27 hours, 31 minutes, and 32 seconds. Aniak musher Isaac Underwood won this year’s K300 Red Lantern.
"I would like to first thank the dogs," Underwood said. "Their energy is contagious and any negativity just disappears with them on the trail." Underwood finished twelfth in 63 hours and 4 minutes.