The 2021 Bogus Creek 150 Sled Dog Race is dedicated to the late musher Joe Demantle Jr. of Tuluksak. Demantle died over the weekend from complications with COVID-19. He was in his 60s.
Mushers in Bethel will hold a tribute to Joe Demantle Jr. on Jan. 29. Demantle’s body is scheduled to arrive in Bethel on the noon jet. At 1:45 p.m. mushers and friends will line up in trucks and snowmachines on the river, between the mouth of the Bethel small boat harbor and Church Slough.
Demantle’s longtime friend, Mark Leary, with the Native Village of Napaimute, will drive Demantle’s body upriver to Tuluksak. Five-time K300 winner and Iditarod champion Pete Kaiser of Bethel will lead the truck with his dog team for the first few miles.
Demantle competed in local sled races over decades and served as a leading Kuskokwim 300 Race Volunteer.
He first ran the K300 in 1985, when he took 9th place and won Rookie of the Year. Last year, in 2020, he ran the Akiak Dash, taking second place.
K300 Race Committee Chairman Myron Angstman wrote in a statement that Demantle planned to race in the K300 Season Opener this year, but was unable to because he was in quarantine.
Correction: A previous version of this article said Demantle planned to run in the Bogus Creek 150 Sled Dog Race, but couldn't because he was in quarantine. That is incorrect. Demantle planned to run the K300 Season Opener, but couldn't because he was in quarantine.