Kuskokwin 300 race committee unsure of purse amount

Posted: Monday, December 24, 2001

BETHEL (AP) -- Organizers of the Kuskokwim 300 say they may have to cut the purse for the state's premier middle-distance mushing race to less than the planned $100,000.

The race committee says a $52,000 bill from the city of Bethel for taxes on the Kusko 300's gaming license is one of the main causes for the shortfall.

''We are close to our goals, but there is still enough uncertainty that we have to advise potential racers that the purse may go down,'' said race manager Rich Gannon.

Another cause of the shortfall was poor sales at the Kuskokwim 300 store in the Alaska Commercial Co., Gannon said. There has been a general decline in the past couple of years, but this year the decline is greater, he said.

The race has experienced financial difficulty in the past, but the purse for the three main races, the Kusko 300, the Bogus Creek 150 and the Akiak Dash, has never been lowered.

Fund raising for the races includes gaming, dog food and merchandise sales, sponsorship money, entry fees and grants.

Yukon Fuel became the main sponsor with a $30,000 pledge last summer.

The race committee will make a final decision on the amount of the purse Jan. 4.

Jeff King won $20,000 for his first-place finish in the 2001 Kusko 300.

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