Race officials for the Kuskokwim 300 are waiving the entry fee to any musher looking to run the organization’s three races this January.
Race Manager Zach Fansler says the $400 entry fee for the 300-mile mid-distance sled dog race — and similar entry fees for the Bogus Creek 150 and the Akiak Dash — are being dropped for 2015.
Fansler hopes, by dropping the entry fee, more mushers will be able to race.
“For our local mushers sometimes it’s hard to put that money out upfront, so we’ve looked into ways to reduce those costs,” Fansler said. “For mushers traveling in outside the Delta, obviously the cost of travel there is pretty high.”
“So we thought this was something we could personally control and try to see if it was something that would encourage more mushers to come to our race.”
Entry fees will be waived for any musher who registers before December 15.
Mushers must also be members of the K300 race committee and mileage sponsors — a $100 caveat Fansler says has been in place for years and shouldn’t be anything new for mushers.
“That was already a preexisting requirement to race in the K300, that you would be a member of our race committee, and that is for state purposes and things like that, to maintain our corporate status,” Fansler said.
Dropping the entry fee for the K300 comes less than a month after the race announced an increase in payouts. The K300 race will see its purse grow by $10,000 to $120,000. The Bogus Creek and Akiak Dash will pay out $30,000 and $12,500, respectively.
It’s the second purse increase in three years. Fansler says the races volunteers make it possible.
“We have a very small pay roll for our employees,” Fansler said. “We’re a very small operation, our board doesn’t get compensated.”
“Things other organizations have to pay for, or pay a lot more for, we are either able to get donated or volunteers to do for us, and that’s where we have a significant savings over a lot of these other races.”
The 2015 Kuskoskim 300 starts Saturday, Jan. 16 in Bethel.