BETHEL (AP) Mitch Seavey battled winds of up to 30 mph and snow drifts the size of his sled to win the Kuskokwim 300 Sled Dog Race.
The Seward musher finished the race in 42 hours, 27 minutes and 29 seconds Sunday in Bethel to take home $20,000. It was Seavey's first race since winning the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race last year.
''He was really happy with the way his dogs performed,'' Mitch's son Dan Seavey said.
Seavey, who wasn't available for comment, finished almost 47 minutes faster than second-place finisher Ed Iten. For most of the 300-mile race through western Alaska, Seavey had Iten, the 2004 Kusko champ, on his tail.
Iten, of Kotzebue, traded leads with Seavey throughout most of the Whitefish Lake loop near Aniak, which marked the halfway point of the Kusko, an Iditarod qualifier. Both teams punched through mounds of powder.
''In the deep stuff, Seavey had more power,'' Iten said. ''It was just deep enough to make the dogs wallow.''
The raw strength Iten witnessed in Seavey's team was impressive.
''Mitch won it fair and square with a beautiful team,'' he said.
Martin Buser, 46, of Big Lake didn't have enough power to overtake Iten for second. Buser crossed the finish line 20 minutes behind Iten to win the third-place prize of $10,000. The total Kusko purse was worth $100,000.
Kasilof's Paul Gebhardt finished a career-best fourth. Jon Little, also of Kasilof, was fifth and Dallas Seavey, Mitch Seavey's son, was sixth.
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