Kusko 300 sled dog race announces bigger purses, offers help to Willow mushers

BETHEL -- Competitive mushers, take note: Purses for Kuskokwim 300 races will again go up in 2016.Prize money for the main event, the Kusko 300, will top $130,000, the biggest purse in the race history, race manager Zach Fansler announced. The Bogus Creek 150 will pay more than $30,000 and the Akiak Dash purse will be raised to at least $15,000.It's the third increase in prize money in three years for those three races. This year's purse for the featured 300-mile race was $120,000. In 2014, it was $110,000. Local races organized under the K300 banner also will see bigger purses. Purses for the Holiday Classic, the 100 Mile Challenge, the February 50 and the Camp-Out Race will increase from $10,000 to more than $12,000 for each race.The purse comes from sponsorships and Bethel gaming operations, including pull tabs. The prize money distribution by finish position will be released later this year. Revenues have been growing."We've seen a general uptrend for the last five years," Fansler said. The race committee supports steady increases in purse sizes, to ensure the prizes are sustainable, he said.In addition, the K300 Race Committee is donating $200 worth of dog food to any musher affected by Willow’s Sockeye wildfire. Mushers who were displaced or otherwise impacted can contact Fansler at 907-545-3300 or k300@k300.org for details.The 2016 Kuskokwim 300 will start Jan. 15.

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