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Richie Diehl (right) of Aniak is the 2021 Kuskokwim 300 Champion. This is Diehl
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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