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Tustumena 200 Sled Dog Race is a no-go for this winter

  • Author: Beth Bragg
  • Updated: September 14
  • Published September 13

The Tustumena 200, a qualifying race for the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog race, will not be held in 2020 and but hopes to be back in 2021, possibly with a new format.

Tami Murray, the race director for the last 12 years, said the majority of the race’s nine board members are ready to step down and the race needs time to rebuild.

“We wanted to get the word out early while mushers are planning their season,” Murray said.

A 200-mile race through the Kenai Peninsula’s Caribou Hills, the Tustumena 200 began in 1983. It has attracted star-studded fields over the years and boasts mushing greats like Lance Mackey, Jeff King, Mitch Seavey and DeeDee Jonrowe among its past champions.

Murray is optimistic that after a one-year hiatus, the race will find new board members and be able to return, perhaps with a different format.

“Maybe a shorter race, maybe a sprint race,” she said.

Murray said fundraising has become more difficult in recent years. In addition, Freddie’s Roadhouse in Ninilchik, where the race starts and finishes, has shut down, but Murray said the owner said he would considered reopening for the weekend of the race.

The Tustumena 200 has been canceled on four occasions, including three straight years from 2014-2016 due to poor trail conditions caused by unseasonably warm weather.

Past champions

1984 — Tim Osmar

1985 — Tim Osmar

1986 — Dave Scheer

1987 — Mac McLeod

1988 — Dave Scheer

1989 — Tim Moerlein

1990 — Tim Osmar

1991 — Dusty VanMeter

1992 — Tim Osmar

1993 — Tim Osmar

1994 — Steve Mullen

1995 — Tim Osmar

1996 — Paul Gebhardt

1997 — Paul Gebhardt

1998 — Ramey Smyth

1999 — Ramey Smyth

2000 — Jeff King

2001 — Jeff King

2002 — Ramey Smyth

2003 — Race Canceled

2004 — Cim Smyth

2005 — Jessica Hendricks

2006 — Jessica Hendricks

2007 — Ken Anderson

2008 — Lance Mackey

2009 — Cim Smyth

2010 — Jeff King

2011 — DeeDee Jonrowe

2012 — Cim Smyth

2013 — Mitch Seavey

2014 — Race Canceled

2015 — Race Canceled

2016 — Race Canceled

2017 — Cim Smyth

2018 — Nic Petit

2019 — Dave Turner

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