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Yukon Quest 2011 Wrap Up

Red Lantern

The race ended last night at 10:06PM AKST when Hank DeBruin and his Siberian Huskies of Ontario, Canada crossed the finish line in Fairbanks with an official time of 13 days 10 hours 54 minutes on the trail. Here’s a nice grouping of pictures of Hank and the puppies. Lily is the leader.

Only 13 of 25 teams finished the race. More than ten times as many people have climbed Mount Everest than have finished the Yukon Quest. Of the 349 dogs that started at Whitehorse, only 125 crossed the finish line. Two of the dogs, Taco of Brent Sass’s team, and Geronimo on Hugh Neff’s, died on the trail. That is rare on the Quest. Geronimo died of Aspiration Asphyxia, eating too fast and having food block the airway, but they still don’t know why Taco died, possibly a heart condition that has been missed in dozens of vet checks.

Now to the Awards

Dallas Seavey won the Championship and the Rookie of the Year Awards. He also got to select the Golden Harness award for two dogs and picked Diesel and Chung, who got steaks in addition to the bling.

Ken Anderson received the Dawson City Award and 4 ounces of placer gold for being the first team into Dawson that went on to finish the race.

Kelley Griffin won the Challenge of the North Award for exemplifying the “Yukon Spirit”.

The Veterinarian’s Choice Award for outstanding dog care went to Mike & Sue Ellis. Sue is Mike’s wife and handler for their Team Tsuga Siberian Huskies.

The mushers vote for the Sportsmanship Award and this year it was a tie, so it was awarded to Mike Ellis, Allen Moore and Brent Sass. As the winners noted the entire field deserved it, given the conditions on the trail.

A new award was handed out this year – the Silver Legacy Award was presented to its namesake, Brent Sass’s veteran lead dog, Silver. The 7-year-old was not only instrumental in helping Hans Gatt’s team on Eagle Summit, he helped in his rookie year in 2006 when faced with similar conditions during the Yukon Quest 300 race. He is a trail breaker and weather leader, and while he is a little slower, when the going gets tough, he is the go-to lead dog on Brent’s team. He is a dominant enough lead dog that other teams are willing to follow him.

The non-sled dog people will be pleased to know that there is a two-week break before the Iditarod.

2 comments

1 Steve Bates { 02.19.11 at 9:47 pm }

Humans and canines alike, through sheer grit, determination and courage in the face of the worst Nature can confront them with, confer a nobility upon themselves that none can deny or diminish.

Meanwhile, a few thousand miles away in Wisconsin, a few near-humans do their damnedest to degrade other humans who work for them, and those humans in turn do credit to themselves by not rolling over and complying with those who would dominate them.

Is this a good day or a bad day? I call it a good day!

2 Bryan { 02.20.11 at 9:28 pm }

I’m going to write about my strike as a public employee, but it is difficult to do and not get angry all over again. The cases are very similar, except in my case the Republicans did it during an election year and were unemployed at the end of it.