It took Jeff King and his team of dogs 50 hours and 34 minutes to finish the Copper Basin 300 sled dog race on Monday. That was good enough for a seven-minute victory over second-place finisher Allen Moore and a $3,000 winner's check.
King led by 24 minutes with 50 miles to go. Moore made up ground in a hurry, however, and shaved the lead down to just two minutes with 24 miles to go. Then a tangle out of Glennallen slowed Moore down and enabled King to race to victory.
Third place belonged to 22-year old Josh Cadzow with a time of 51:21. Sonny Lindner and Dan Kaduce rounded out the top five.
For King to out duel Moore in such dramatic fashion was no small feat considering Moore has won the Copper Basin 300 three of the past five years. Of course, King had won this race before as well. The 54-year-old, four-time Iditarod champion won it back in 1995.
Only one dog musher ever won the Copper Basin 300 and the Iditarod in the same year. That was 2009 champion, Lance Mackey.
The fastest finish time ever recorded in the 21 years the event has been in existence was 47:44 by William Kleedehn in 2004.
The race began in Glennallen, moved through check points at Tolsona Lake Resort, Wolverine Lodge, Sourdough Creek, Meier's Lake, Paxson Lodge and Chistochina Village Hall before finishing back in Glennallen for an official distance of 291 miles.
Mushers had to battle temperatures as low as 40 below zero, which can leave a musher's mustache a little frosted over at race end.