Yukon Quest International Set To Run
The Worlds Toughest Sled Dog Race
This is the 29th annual running of the Yukon Quest sled dog race. The contest in the brainchild of four mushers who came up with the idea while sitting in the Bulls Eye bar in Fairbanks Alaska.
Roger Williams, Leroy Shank, Ron Rosser and Willy Lipps named the competition after the Yukon River which carried prospectors to Dawson City and beyond during the Gold Rush.
In 1984 Sonny Linden became the first champion, covering the route in 12 days.
Every musher who competes has his or her own stories to tell, like the peace and beauty of running dogs alone on a snow-packed trail under a full moon or having to kill an attacking moose with an axe.
Every year brings a new test of the musher's and dog's fortitude. Some years the temperature has dropped down to minus 50. Other years it's been so warm the dog teams had to be trucked through a portion of the route and competitors dealt with dangerous overflow conditions.
Because the ">Yukon Quest is so demanding mushers must sucessfully complete a qualifying race to enter. Each musher must bring survival gear including a sleeping bag, axe and cooking equipment. Additional food is dropped in communities along the route including Dawson City where the teams have a mandatory layover. Competitors this year are coming from as far away as Russia and Norway.
Each musher starts with 14 dogs but can drop them along the route if the dogs become ill or injured. A musher must have six dogs to complete the race.
Here are some of the competitors to watch for in the 2012 Yukon Quest.
The 54 year old from Healey, Alaska has been running dogs for 24 years. He has competed in four previous Quests with a best finish of 3rd place. In 2004 Dalton won the Vets Choice award crossing the finish line with all 14 dogs.
The 62 year old from Two Rivers, Alaska has been dog mushing for 40 years. This will be Linder's 7th Quest. He won the inaugural race in 1984 and placed 2nd in 1992.
The 44 year old from Tok Alaska has been running dogs for 15 years. He has competed in the Quest nine times with a best finish of 2nd place in 2009.