Ryan Redington Wins Knik 200, Anderson 2nd

Valley musher wins Knik 200By MATT TUNSETHFrontiersmanPublished on Monday, January 7, 2008 10:54 PM AKSTKNIK — Wasilla’s Ryan Redington grabbed the lead and never looked back, racing home in record fashion to win his second Knik 200 Joe Redington Sr. Memorial Sled Dog Race Sunday morning.A grandson of the man for whom the event is named, Redington crossed the finish line just after 9 a.m. Sunday, more than a half-hour ahead of second-place Ken Anderson and Dan Kaduce in third.“It’s pretty big for me, because I breed and race my own,” Redington said shortly after the finish. “We had some pretty good competition here, so to prove them was nice.” ROBERT DeBERRY/Frontiersman Knik 200 checker Terry Langholz, left, checks in third place finisher Dan Kaduce Sunday morning on Knik Lake. Kaduce arrived at the finish line at 9:38.30 a.m.Redington ran in front for most of the 200-mile race that stretches from Knik Lake to Skwentna and back. After starting in seventh, he zoomed passed all six mushers in front of him by the halfway point — breaking a race record in the process by covering the distance in just under seven hours.He said conditions set up perfectly for a fast run, with hard-packed trails and cool temperatures for the duration of the race, which began at 11 a.m. Saturday.“I had a real nice fast team, and the trail conditions were ideal,” said Redington, who also earned $3,000 of the $6,800 purse with the win.The 25-year-old also won the race in 2004 and is a two-time Junior Iditarod winner. Last season he finished a career-best 18th in the Iditarod.Redington left Skwentna 28 minutes ahead of his older brother, Ray Jr. of Two Rivers, and a half-hour ahead of Anderson, of Fox.Kaduce, who also hails from the Fairbanks area, left 12 minutes later.Ryan Redington said he was pretty confident his dogs wouldn’t give up the lead. His Callin’ Trail Kennel is just down the road from Knik Lake, meaning he and his dogs train in the area on a daily basis.“They know their way home,” he said.The win was the second top finish for the Wasilla-area musher this season. In December, he placed second in the Aurora 25/25 in Trapper Creek, losing by a single second to Cim Smyth.Redington said he’s also planning on running the Tustumena 200 on the Kenai Peninsula and the Iditarod. When asked if he believes the Knik win is a sign of good things to come this season, Redington smiled, “I think so.”While Redington was cruising to victory, the race behind him was much more interesting.Anderson passed Ray Redington Jr. shortly out of Skwentna and was running a comfortable second for most of the run back to Knik — until Kaduce emerged from the woods behind him with less than 10 miles to go.“I was like, ‘jeez, where’d he come from?’” Anderson said.Kaduce got by Anderson, but his lead was short lived. Shortly after passing Anderson, Kaduce had a dog get loose and had to stop to retrieve the animal.Moments later, things really got bad.“A (recreational) team came and got tangled with my team and that gave Ken a hundred yards out in front of me,” Kaduce said.Anderson said he’s not sure what the recreational musher was doing on the race trail. As he and Kaduce came upon the meddlesome team, Anderson said he tried to wave the musher off — to no avail.“He didn’t do anything. He just stood on his runners and piled into my team. My team got around him and Dan was behind me and Dan’s balled up with him,” Anderson said.The unfortunate meeting gave Anderson all the cushion he’d need, as Kaduce crossed the finish line 20 seconds back.A mere 20 seconds proved to be worth $1,000 for Anderson. By finishing second, the Fox musher earned $2,000, while Kaduce scored $1,000 for his third-place finish.Ray Redington Jr. was fourth, while Willow’s Matt Hayashida placed fifth.Ray Redington Jr. and Hayashida earned $500 and $300 of the race purse respectively.Despite the rough ending, Kaduce said he’s not going to lose any sleep over the bizarre finish.“It’s all right,” he said. “It was fun.”Twenty-six of the 32 teams that started the race made it to the finish line. Sheep Mountain’s Zack Steer was sixth, followed by Yukon mushers Sebastian Schnuelle and Gerry Willomitzer. Nome’s Aaron Burmeister was ninth, while Sterling’s Mitch Seavey — the lone Iditarod champion in the race — rounded out the top 10.For complete results, see http://www.frontiersman.com/sports

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