Down to six dogs, Ken Anderson of Fairbanks pushed to victory Sunday in the Kobuk 440, pulling away from rookie Scott Smith to win the season's last distance sled-dog race by 15 minutes.
Anderson dropped one dog at each of the final three checkpoints on the 440-mile race, which started and ended in Kotzebue.
He and Smith dueled for the lead for hours overnight and early Sunday. Smith left Kiana at 1:39 a.m., four minutes ahead of Anderson, and was ahead by one minute when they reached Noorvik. Anderson was the first to leave Noorvik, however, bolting at 4:46 a.m. after a two-minute stay. Smith followed at 4:47 after a four-minute stay.
Anderson put some distance between himself and Smith in the final run to Kotzebue. He reached the finish at 11:47 a.m. and Smith, of Willow, followed with 11 dogs at 12:02 p.m.
Sigrid Ekran of Norway grabbed third place at 1:23 p.m. and rookie Katherine Keith finished fourth at 2:24 p.m.
Anderson started the race, which goes from Kotzebue to Kobuk and back, with 12 dogs. He dropped three on his first pass through Ambler and three more at the final three stops on his return trip.
Sulte 14th in Oregon
Aspen Sulte of the Alyeska Ski Club placed 14th in a women's super-G Saturday and 21st in another super-G Sunday to lead the Alaskans competing at the Western Region Elite Spring Series at Mt. Bachelor, Ore.
Women's super-G No. 1 -- 1. Jaqueline Wiles (White Pass) 1:10.92. Alaskans: 14. Aspen Sulte, 1:13.81; 22. Sydney Henegan, 1:15.13; 29. Sarah Powell, 1:16.19.
Women's super-g No. 2 -- 1. Jaqueline Wiles (White Pass) 1:08.99. Alaskans: 21. Aspen Sulte, 1:12.21; 26. Sarah Powell, 1:12.95; 32. Sydney Henegan, 1:13.69.
Men's super-G No 1 -- 1. Bryce Bennett (U.S. Ski Team) 1:08.00. Alaskan: 71. Kevin Kelly, 1:12.91.
Anchorage Daily News