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17 mushers are slated to race the 2022 Akiak Dash

Jackie Larson celebrates with his team at the 2021 Akiak Dash finish on February 13, 2021. Larson will be back to defend his title in 2022.
Elyssa Loughlin
/
KYUK
Jackie Larson celebrates with his team at the 2021 Akiak Dash finish on February 13, 2021. Larson will be back to defend his title in 2022.

Seventeen mushers will race the 2022 Akiak Dash on Saturday, Jan. 29. The race is a roughly 65-mile route from Bethel to Akiak and back. Defending champion Jackie Larson of Napaskiak will seek a second straight title among a competitive field of Kuskokwim mushers. Two more of 2021’s top five finishers are back this year: runner up Matt Scott of Bethel, and fourth place finisher Raymond Alexie from Kwethluk.

For the second year in a row, there will be no official checkpoint and no required rest at the halfway mark in Akiak. Typically, teams rest one hour before turning around and racing to the finish in Bethel. With the adjusted race format, teams will not be allowed to drop any dogs during the race.

Six rookies join the 2022 field. One is from Bethel: Spencer Wilson. The rest are from Akiachak: Keith Ekamrak, Darren George, Cody George, Leighton Wassilie, and Jacob Frederick.

Jacob Napoka of Tuluksak will run his first Akiak Dash, although he won’t technically be considered a rookie because he has previously raced the Bogus Creek 150.

The top 15 finishers win prize money from a $30,000 purse. The winner will take home a check for $4,700. The race begins in a mass start at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 29 on the Kuskokwim River in front of Bethel. A winner is expected in the early evening, likely around 7 p.m.

Tune into KYUK 640AM for live coverage at the start line, and again for live interviews with the mushers at the finish.

2022 Akiak Dash Mushers

Bib NumberMusher NameHometown
1Spencer WilsonBethel
2 Keith EkamrakAkiachak
3 Matt Scott Bethel
4 Herman PhillipKwethluk
5 Victoria HardwickBethel/Colville, WA
6 Solomon OlickBethel
7 Raymond AlexieKwethluk
8 Michael Williams Jr.Akiak
9 Jacob NapokaTuluksak
10 Darren GeorgeAkiachak
11 Cody GeorgeAkiachak
12 Jonathan SimonBethel
13 Jackie LarsonNapaskiak
14 Leighton WassilieAkiachak
15 Carl AndrewKwethluk
16 Jacob FrederickAkiachak
17 Thomas CarlAkiak
Ben Matheson has worked as a reporter for KYUK in Bethel and KNOM in Nome.
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