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Mike Williams Jr. nabs a narrow win in Lower Kuskokwim mushing season opener

This weekend kicked off the start of mushing season on the lower Kuskokwim River. The Kuskokwim 300 Race Committee sponsored its season opener on Dec. 4. The course was 32-miles long, beginning and ending in Bethel. The two top finishers flew into the gate neck-and-neck, duking it out for first place. Ultimately, Mike Williams Jr. of Akiak took first place with an elapsed time of 2:27.49. Greg Larson of Napaskiak crossed the finish line just three seconds behind him. According to race manager Paul Basile, the same two mushers came in neck-and-neck during the last race of last season, but that time Larson took the top prize.

In the third place of this weekend’s race was 18-year-old Jason Pavila. The race purse was $18,000, which is a decreased amount from recent years and was paid out to the top 16 finishers. Basile said that the purse is projected to be cut by 10% across all races this season because the pandemic prevented the race committee from in-person fundraising for most of last year.

The next race is scheduled for Dec. 18. Click here for the full list of this weekend’s race results.

Olivia Ebertz is a News Reporter for KYUK. She also works as a documentary filmmaker. She enjoys learning languages, making carbs, and watching movies.
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