BETHEL (AP) -- Jeff King won the Kuskokwim 300 Sled Dog Race early Monday, for an unprecedented sixth victory in the race.
King crossed the finish line in Bethel with seven dogs in harness at 4:40 a.m. to claim the $20,000 first-place prize.
The three-time Iditarod champion said the race couldn't have been much better.
''That was a lot of fun -- good trail, warm weather, fast dogs,'' he said. Winds were calm and temperatures were in the single digits above zero when King reached Bethel and was greeted by an enthusiastic crowd.
King was the defending champion in the race, which is one of the state's premier mid-distance sled dog races.
For much of the 300-race King battled Martin Buser of Big Lake, another three-time Iditarod winner. The two left Kalskag at the same time Sunday afternoon. But King managed to pull ahead to finish an hour ahead of Buser.
Buser reached the finish line at 5:45 a.m.
By late morning, four mushers had finished. DeeDee Jonrowe of Willow finished third at 6:46 a.m. while Charlie Boulding of Manley finished in fourth place at 6:59 a.m.
Eighteen mushers started the race. Three scratched.
The start of the Kuskokwim 300 had to be pushed back to Saturday from Friday, due to warm temperatures. Changes were made to the race course this year, partly to avoid slushy conditions on parts of the trail.
King said he enjoyed the changes to the route, despite some icy conditions.
''I think you could have probably ice skated about 150 miles of the 300,'' he said.
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