BETHEL (AP) -- Mushers have chosen their starting positions for the 22nd annual Kuskokwim 300 Sled Dog Race.
Among the 18-mushers gathered for Wednesday's drawing were last year's champion Charlie Boulding of Manley Hot Springs, four-time Kusko 300 champion Jeff King of Denali Park and race record-holder Martin Buser of Big Lake.
Mushers remembered Ray Egoak of Kwethluk, who was a top contender in races around the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. He died of cancer in December. Race organizers set aside the No. 1 spot in memory of Egoak and other deceased dog drivers.
Joe Garnie of Teller will be the first to leave the chute, followed by Dean Osmar of Clam Gulch, Rick Swenson of Two Rivers and John Baker of Kotzebue.
The 300-mile race from Bethel to Aniak and back starts at noon Friday, and carries a $100,000 purse.
Race organizers changed the race route to avoid open water on the Kuskokwim River. They said the new trail was safe and clearly marked.
The winning musher is expected to cross the finish line early Sunday.
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