Richie Diehl (right) of Aniak is the 2021 Kuskokwim 300 Champion. This is Diehl's 12th K300 and his first win. Pete Kaiser (left) of Bethel is a five-time K300 champion, and the two are best friends. February 14, 2021 in Bethel, Alaska. Credit Katie Basile / KYUK - Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, Alaska
Buddies Richie Diehl And Pete Kaiser Lead Local Mushers’ Domination Of K300
It was a year of many firsts for the Kuskokwim 300 Sled Dog Race. It was the first year that checkpoints were set up outside of villages to avoid spreading COVID-19, which led to a modified, slightly shorter race course. It was also the first year that a musher won both the Kuskokwim 300 and the Bogus Creek 150.
After crossing the finish line in Bethel, Aniak musher Richie Diehl received a rose from the crowd, which he handed to his fiance, Emerie Fairbanks. Diehl won the race on Valentine's Day, Feb. 14, at 6:38 a.m., finishing with a record-breaking time of 36 hours and 8 minutes. The previous record was held by Matt Failor, finishing the 2019 K300 in 36 hours and 32 minutes. Diehl will be taking home $25,500 of the $143,500 purse in his first Kuskokwim 300 victory.
“I’m going to enjoy this,” Diehl said after his finish. “This is a race I grew up on, and I love it. It's the biggest accomplishment in my mushing career right now.”
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