BETHEL - Charlie Boulding slogged through soft, punchy snow, driving winds and warm temperatures Sunday to win the Kuskokwim 300 Sled Dog Race.
Boulding, of Manley, crossed the finish line in Bethel at 12:10 p.m. Sunday, claiming the $20,000 first-place prize.
The 58-year-old musher is on a roll. Boulding's win in the Kusko 300 came less than a week after he claimed victory in the Klondike 300 Sled Dog Race in Big Lake.
Blowing snow and biting winds gusting to 40 mph sent icy pellets hurtling into mushers' faces. The wind blew drifting snow quickly obscuring the trail.
Temperatures in the 30s took a toll on the dogs. Used to running in temperatures to 20 below, the canines suffered through a heat wave.
Several mushers wore Helly Hansen rain gear, a look more typical of commercial fishermen than mushers. Several complained about the ``useless'' pounds of arctic gear they carried in their sleds.
Linwood Fiedler finished second, reaching Bethel at 1:08 p.m.
``The Iditarod (Trail Sled Dog Race) should be a qualifier for this race,'' joked Fiedler.
Three-time Iditarod champion Jeff King came in third at 1:28 p.m. and Ed Iten of Ambler finished in fourth place at 2 p.m.
Twenty-one mushers started the 300-mile race from Bethel to Aniak and back at noon on Friday. By late Sunday two, Rocky Taylor and Bill Steyer, had scratched.
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