Willow 300 Sled Dog Race

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w300logoWillow 300 Sled Dog Race 2023 Official Race Rules

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The Official Race Rules for the 2023 Willow 300 Sled Dog Race, have been adopted by the Willow 300 Sled Dog Race Association.

Any team who competes in the Willow 300 Sled Dog Race need to make sure and read every rule thoroughly, as these have changed from the past and it is the mushers responsibility to adhere to these new rules. Please make sure and mark your calendars with these dates, as it is not the W300 responsibility to remind everyone of times and dates. It is the musher/teams responsibility to make sure that they are at these mandatory meetings and vet check.

Willow 300 Sled Dog Race rule of competition notice are as follows:

  1. ALL vet checks, Mushers meetings, Volunteers meeting and required paperwork are to be completed at the Willow Community Center on Tuesday, January 24, 2023 from 10:00 a.m.to 3:00 p.m.
  2. Mushers meeting will start promptly at 3:30 p.m. (Please check Facebook or web page for any possible changes or additional information.)


  1. Willow Start and Finish
    1. The official starting date for the W300 will be Wednesday, January 25th, 2023 at 09:00 a.m, at the Willow Lake in Willow Alaska. (If for some reason we are unable to start on Willow Lake, we will move the race to Happy Trails Kennel in Big Lake.
    2. The W300 2023 race will conclude at Willow Lake in Willow, Ak.
    3. Musher must start the race with no less than 8 dogs and no more than 14 dogs in harness and
    4. will finish the race with no fewer than 5 dogs in harness at the finish line.
    5. No dogs will be replaced or added after crossing the starting line.
    6. MUSHER AND HANDLERS must NOT be under the influence or consume any alcohol and/or drugs of any kind during the race at any time. Such violations will result in immediate disqualifications. The W300 will follow Iditarod’s standards regarding such rule.
  2. Entry Fee and Purse
    1. The 2023 entry for the W300 will open Saturday, October 1, 2023. Receipt of $530.00 (which includes the $30.00 nonrefundable Willow300 Sled Dog Race Association membership fee) will be required to bepaid before the application will constitute the Mushers intent to enter the 2023 W300 Sled Dog Race.
    2. Musher fully understands and agrees to comply with each, and every rule as stated in this handbook upon signing up for the W300 Sled Dog Race.
    3. The Willow 300 Sled Dog Race reserves the rights to reject any entries.
    4. Entries are determined on the first come first serve bases. Entries postmarked on same day will be opened in random order.
    5. Entry fees must be either by: Check, Money Order, Cashier's Check or Credit Card, (MC,VS,Discover, AmEx). NO CASH WILL BE ACCEPTED.
    6. Entry fee checks are to be made out to and mailed to:
      Willow 300 Sled Dog Race Association
      PO Box 138
      Willow, Alaska 99688
    7. If the musher is unable to fill(run) his or her position in the W300 Race, there will be NO refund of entry fees. However, you may find your own replacement to run the 2023 W300. Please notify Race Director of such changes before Monday, January 16, 2023. Any changes made after Monday, January 16,2023 will not be accepted.
    8. If any changes are made before Monday, January 16, 2023, the musher taking over the vacant position, will be required to fill out all new paperwork and pay the required membership fee of $30.00 before application will be accepted.
    9. Refunds of entry fees will take place ONLY IF the W300 is cancelled at the discretion of the Race Marshal. If for any reason the race is postponed, the Willow 300 Sled Dog Race WILL NOT reimburse any entry fees.
    10. If race is cancelled W300 will reimburse musher a minimum of $450.00. The W300 Association reserves the right to withhold a maximum of $50.00 of the initial entry fee. This cost is to cover some of the trail development and grooming fees prior to the race. The W300 will do our utmost to avoid this small holding. If a cancellation does occur, a clean and transparent accounting of all cost of the trail development will be provided to each musher upon request.
    11. Purse amounts will be determined and posted by December 1, 2023.
    12. All mushers/teams running the W300 race will be a W300 member and will be in good standing with the race.
    13. If using the W300 as a qualifier for the Iditarod and or Yukon Quest, it is the responsibility of the musher to present the Race Marshal with the necessary paperwork. The W300 is NOT responsible for the musher applications.
    14. The musher must be 18 years of age or older on the start day of the 2023 W300 Sled Dog Race.
    15. ALL mushers must attend AND sign in for the mandatory mushers meeting on Tuesday, January 24, 2023. This meeting will start at 3:30p.m. DO not be late, as a penalty can be given... This is a mandatory meeting.
    16. There may be additional forms this year to fill out. Please feel free to do so during the vet checks. You may also download these and submit them at sign in.
  3. Race Route and Trail
    1. The W300 is a 300-mile race with a minimum of 18 hours total layover taken at the official checkpoints.
    2. NO musher will be allowed to stay more than 6 hours at any checkpoint during the race.
    3. The course covers approximately 300 miles in and around Willow up to Trapper Creek area.
    4. Approximate course is:
      1. Leave Willow Lake with a 70-mile run to Susitna Landing
      2. Leave Susitna Landing with a approx. 60 mile run to Sheep Creek Lodge
      3. Leave Sheep Creek Lodge and travel north approx. 70 mile run to Trapper Creek 
      4. Leave Trapper Creek and travel west approx. 40 miles to Forks Road House.
      5. Leave Forks Road House and travel approx. 75 miles back to Sheep Creek Lodge to the finish line.
        ** Mileages are approx. and will be adjusted as the trail conditions warrant.
      6. The trail will be broken and marked prior to the race. However, due to the weather conditions there will be no guarantee of broken trails during the race.
      7. ABSOLUTELY NO GPS coordinates will be given.
      8.  Subject to change depening on conditions
    5. Official check points are: Willow Lake, (Willow Community Center), Susitna Landing, Sheep Creek Lodge, Trapper Creek, Forks Roadhouse, Sheep Creek Lodge
    6. Mushers must follow the described trail as marked. Leaving the marked trail for ANY competitive advantage will result in immediate disqualification.
  4. Outside Assistance
    1. Qualifying Mushers:
      1. Qualifying musher may NOT have outside help/assistance during the race at any given time.
      2. Qualifying mushers are REQUIRED to have a handler at each roadside checkpoint, and Parks Highway Road crossings. *(If musher handler fails to show up for the musher when crossing the Parks Highway a $100.00 penalty will be given.)
      3. Qualifying mushers handlers listed on contact form are REQUIRED to receive and care for returned dogs, clean up all straw, dog waste, booties and garbage within 30 mins of musher leaving checkpoint. Be prepared to bring your OWN cleaning supplies, i.e.rake, shovel, trash bags, etc. Willow 300 DOES not supply these items.
    2. Non-Qualifying Musher:
      1. Unlike any other area races, W300 will allow outside help for non-qualifying mushers with only ONE dog truck.
      2. Each musher is REQUIRED to have a handler that is listed on the contact form at each roadside checkpoint and Parks Highway Road crossing. *(Failure to comply will result in $100.00 penalty)
      3. Handlers are REQUIRED to receive and care for returned dogs and clean up all straw, dog waste, booties, and garbage within 30 mins of musher leaving the checkpoint. Be prepared to bring your OWN cleaning supplies, ie rake, shovel, trash bags etc. Willow 300 DOES not supply these items.
      4. Handlers for non-qualifying mushers have the option to assist with dog care, sled repairs, etc. HOWEVER, if non-qualifying musher uses handlers for any assistance with dog care, MUSHER will not qualify to receive the Humanitarian Award or Rookie of the Year Award.
    3. A one hour penalty will be given for ANY litter on the trail and or at any checkpoint. Do NOT leave any cleaning supplies at any checkpoint.
    4. Checkpoints will only allow 1 Dog Truck parking space per team. All other vehicles will pay for parking at checkpoints. Use the parking pass that is in your musher packet.
    5. All handlers, whether qualifying or non-qualifying will be responsible for the delivery of drop bags to mushers at the road checkpoints.
    6. Unused baled straw may be left at any checkpoint. However, make sure that it is properly contained.
    7. A musher may carry and use any two-way communication device including but not limited to 1) cell phone 2) satellite phone 3) GPS is permitted.
  5. Checkpoints
    1. Mushers must personally sign in and inform the checkpoint official of departure time.
    2. Musher MUST have all mandatory gear when signing in at checkpoint.
    3. Bib number will be clearly shown at each checkpoint.
    4. Mandatory gear will be checked at the start of the race, Trapper Creek checkpoint and at the finish of the race (Sheep Creek Lodge), However, gear may be checked at anytime along the trail and or at any given checkpoint by the Race Judge and or the Race Marshal.
    5. All mushers have the option to sleep/rest in their dog truck or other designated places on the road systems checkpoints. Mushers are not required to do so but are given the opportunity to do so. However, there may be limited indoor space available to rest at the road system checkpoints.
  6. Passing
    1. When a musher and team are within 50 ft of another team, the team behind will have the Right of Way upon command. This rule DOES NOT apply within a mile of the finish line, which is no mans land.
    2. The passed team must remain behind for at least 2 minutes.SkiPoles are NOT allowed when passing another team.
  7. Sled
    1. No sled is allowed to be shipped or taken out to checkpoints before the 2023 W300 race.
    2. Musher may have help repairing their sled ONLY if prior approval has been given by the Race Judge and or Race Marshal at the checkpoint that the musher is at.
    3. Mushers can use 1 trailer in addition to the sled ONLY if trail conditions allow. This will be determined at the mushers meeting.
    4. The musher can only carry dogs in front of their sleds handlebar.
    5. Mushers may not carry dogs for another team under ANY circumstance.
    6. Dogs must be hauled in a humane fashion and must be covered if conditions warrant. The Race Judge/Race Marshal will make that determination.
  8. Mandatory Gear
    1. Cold Weather Sleeping Bag rated to -30
    2. Hand Ax with the overall length of 22 inches
    3. One Pair of snowshoes with bindings. Each snowshoe must have a minimum of 250 square inches in size.
    4. 3-gallon cooker with cooking gear
    5. 2 sets of dog booties for each dog at all times during the race.
    6. Dog coats for each dog.
    7. *** REMINDER*** W300 DOES NOT provide heet for your cookers.
  9. Dog Care and Humane Treatment
    1. All dogs entered into the W300 Sled Dog Race are under the jurisdiction of the W300, Chief Veterinarian and the Veterinary Staff from the time that they enter staging area before the race until after completion of the race.
    2. ALL dogs are subject at any time to an examination by race Veterinarians/Judges/Race Marshal prior to, during or immediately after completing the race. c)Concerns about the condition of the dogs may be brought to the attention of the Race Judge and or Race Marshal.
    3. The Veterinarian and Race Marshal, may make a on the spot decision regarding the dog health and or care.
    4. Dogs may be returned at any of the checkpoints. All returned dogs MUST be seen by a race Vet before leaving the checkpoint with the mushers handler.
    5. A fee of $15.00 per returned dog will be charged if W300 transports the dog, EXCEPT for Forks Roadhouse.
    6. ********Return dogs from Forks Roadhouse will be transported by a W300 staff to Kroto Creek Parking area at no charge. However, it is the responsibility for the musher handler to pick up the returned dog within an hour of being contacted.
    7. *********If W300 staff transports a returned dog back from Kroto Creek Parking Area to any road system checkpoint, a fee of $15.00 per dog will be charged to the musher.
    8. MISTREATMENT OF ANY dog will be cause for immediate DISQUALIFACTION from the W300 Sled Dog Race.
    9. Whips and other violent tactics are not permitted. Any and all such actions will be reported to all major race organizations. The Race Marshal and Race Judge have the authority over this matter.
    10. NO drugs that may suppress the signs of illness and or injury or cause a dog to perform beyond its natural ability will be tolerated during the W300. The W300 follow the Iditarod’s list of prohibited drugs.
  10. Expired Dogs
    1. The death of any dog may result in the disqualification of the driver and or prohibit them from entering future races with the W300 Sled Dog Race.
    2. Any dog that expires during the race must be loaded, fully covered in the sled and taken to the next checkpoint and submitted to the Race Judge/Race Marshal or Race Veterinarian immediately.
    3. All dogs’ deaths will be treated as a priority with every effort being made to determine the cause of death in a thorough and reliable manner.
    4. In case of a dog’s death, the expired dog will become property of W300 for the purpose of performing a necropsy. If the necropsy shows musher abuse, the musher forfeits ALL EARNINGS and is banned from the W300 permanently.
    5. Dog deaths resulting in Disqualification are:
      1. Signs of cruel inhumane or abusive treatment
      2. Heat Stress
      3. Hypothermia
    6. The musher will not be penalized and may continue if:
      1. Cause of death cannot be determined
      2. Cause of death is due to circumstance, nature of the trail or forced beyond the control of the musher.
        This recognizes the inherent risk of wilderness trail in the state of Alaska.
    7. Cause of death is from an unpreventable or previously undiagnosed medical condition shown in the necropsy report.
    8. A necropsy will be performed on ALL expired dogs.
  11. Vet Checks
    1. Mandatory Vet check must be made prior to the race. W300 vet checks will be Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023 from 9:00 a.m to 2:30p.m. at the Willow Community Center.
    2. Vet checks will be as follows:
      1. Last name A-J will be first come first serve 9:00 a.m to 11:30 p.m.
      2. Last name K-Z will be first come first serve 11:30p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
    3. For the purpose of these vet checks a maximum of 16 dogs will be examined.
    4. If teams have had a previous vet check from their vet within the last 10-days, team must submit paperwork and shot records in place of a race vet check. However, paperwork will be reviewed and verified with the lead Veterinarian during the vet checks. If any concerns occur, musher/team may be asked to have a dog reviewed by a race vet the morning of the W300 race.
    5. If you are unable to attend the vet check on Tuesday, January 24,2023 you are required to contact the W300 Sled Dog Race no later than Monday, January 23, 2023 by 6:00 P.M
    6. All dogs must have current rabies and Parvo shots. (5way minimum). Proof must be presented during the W300 vet check.
    7. NO proof, NO race!!
  12. Sportsmanship
    1. Mushers and their crew MUST demonstrate sportsmanship like conduct during all parts of the W300 race.
    2. Any conduct that is inappropriate toward the Race Marshal, Race Judge, Committee, Volunteers, Sponsors, Competitors, Trail Committee, and Spectators will result in a penalty or disqualification of the race and will NO longer be in good standing with the W300 Sled Dog Race.
    3. This will be determined by the Race Judge (checkpoint) and or Race Marshal.
  13. Penalties
    1. The scale of penalties involved with rule breaking in the W300 Sled Dog Race are as follows:
      1. Time Delay
      2. Monetary Penalty
      3. Withdrawal
      4. Disqualification
      5. Future ban from W300 Sled Dog Race.
    2. The Race Judge and or Race Marshal have the authority to withdraw a team that is out of competition or no longer making a valid effort to compete.
  14. Drop Bags
    1. ALL food drop bags must be in a gunny type bag and clearly marked with the following:
      1. Mushers Last name
      2. W300
      3. Checkpoint location
      4. Numbered bags 1 of 2, 2 of 2 and etc.
    2. A maximum of 2 40# drop bags will be accepted for the Forks Roadhouse Checkpoint.
    3. W300 DOES NOT provide any fuel/heet for any of the checkpoints.
    4. All mushers may piggyback one additional small drop bag to the Forks Road House Checkpoint for fuel/heet
    5. All other drop bags will need to be delivered to roadside checkpoints by ALL handlers. W300 WILL NOT deliver any bags formushers.
    6. Drop bags for Forks Roadhouse Checkpoint must be delivered to Willow Community Center on Wednesday, January 25, 2023 prior to starting the race.
    7. Any drop bag delivered to the W300 Community Center after the start of the race, will not be guaranteed delivery to Fork Roadhouse Checkpoint.
    8. W300 Sled Dog Race WILL NOT be responsible for returning a mushers dropped gear/bags from any road system checkpoint (Sheep Creek, Susitna, Trapper Creek, Willow).
    9. W300 will take drop bags from Forks Roadhouse Checkpoint back to place of banquet.
    10. Any drop bags/gear left after the conclusion of banquet will be disposed of.