CLOSING IN — Nils Hahn, the first-place finisher, nears the end the of the race.Diana Haecker nears the finish line. HONORARY MUSHER — Neil Strandberg of the Nome Kennel Club presented the Farley family with the honorary bib #1.FINISHED — First-time racer Stephen Lezak was happy to cross the finish line.FARLEY FAMILY — The Nome Kennel Club announced Howard Farley, Sr. as its Honorary Musher for this year’s race season. His family came to the first race to celebrate the honor. From left to right: Hazel Tocktoo, Ben Farley, Tina Farley, Harvey Farley, Kevin Farley, Howard “Chugie” Farley Jr., Mary Lou Paniataaq and Jessica Farley.READY TO GO — Visiting musher Dan Kaduce chats with Nils Hahn before the race start.FIRST TIMER — Stephen Lezak completed his first mushing race on Saturday.

Nome Kennel Club hosts first race of season

Three sled dog teams braved the cold temperatures this weekend to compete in the Nome Kennel Club’s first race of the season.

The first two scheduled races were canceled due to the storms that hit the region in January. The Jan. 27 race looked like it might suffer the same fate, as temperatures (with wind-chill) dropped close to the -35° cutoff. But with little wind and nicely packed snow, the mushers reported beautiful trail conditions after they finished the 20-mile, figure-eight-shaped loop.

A few days ahead of the race, the Nome Kennel Club announced that Howard Farley Sr., who recently died at age 91, would be named Honorary Musher for the season. Farley was instrumental in re-establishing the Nome Kennel Club in the 1970s and helped found the Iditarod, also competing in the first iteration of that race in 1973.

 Several of his family members saw the mushers off for Saturday’s noon start time. They accepted the Nome Kennel Club’s bib #1 that would be reserved for Farley all season.

The mushers left from the snow dump and followed a staked trailed toward Dredge No. 5, across the Beam Road, toward the VOR, then up the Nome River toward Osborn and back over Gold Hill. The race had a 12-dog limit.

Wearing bib #4, Nils Hahn finished in first place with 12 dogs in harness and a time of 1 hour, 46 minutes and 34 seconds. Diana Haecker, in bib #3, placed second with 10 dogs and a time of 1 hour, 50 minutes and 42 seconds.

Stephen Lezak, in bib #2, finished third in his first mushing race. Lezak has been a handler for Burr and Tim Lemaire’s Comstock Kennel, and he raced with six of their dogs. Powering through an early wrong turn and some “negotiation” with his team, he made it to the finish all smiles with a time of 2 hours, 7 minutes, and 55 seconds.

NKC board member Frank Carruthers served as race marshal and visiting Iditarod musher Dan Kaduce helped with timing the competition.

The race’s purse was $250 for first place, $150 for second and $100 for third.

The next race scheduled is a 25-30-mile race, starting at noon on Saturday,  Feb.17, with a 12-dog limit. The race start is at the snowdump facility off Greg Kruschek Avenue,




The Nome Nugget

PO Box 610
Nome, Alaska 99762

Phone: (907) 443-5235
Fax: (907) 443-5112

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