Rookie Olivia Webster Shank-Neff finished the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race on Saturday night, walking into the finish banquet only minutes after she crossed the finish line in 11th place. She received a standing ovation.
Shank-Neff ran the second half of the race without seeing another musher, battling overflow, heavy snow and high winds that made the 2020 race a typically tough one. She was met at the finish line by her husband, two-time Quest champion Hugh Neff, and grandfather LeRoy Shank, one of the people who founded the race, which just completed its 37th running.
Eureka musher Brent Sass won the race on Tuesday, making him a three-time champion. He and Canadian musher Michelle Phillips had leap-frogged each other for much of the race before he took the lead going into the last leg. His total elapsed time was 10 days, 2 hours, 9 minutes.
The 1,000-mile race started on Feb. 1 in downtown Fairbanks in temperatures near minus 40 degrees. Fifteen mushers began the race. Two scratched in Circle and two more left the race at the halfway point in Dawson City, including veteran Dave Dalton, who was running his 30th and final Quest. It was the smallest field in the race's history.
At the finish banquet, three-time winner Allen Moore of Two Rivers announced it would be his final Yukon Quest.
This story will be updated.
The final standings are:
1. Brent Sass
2. Michelle Phillips
3. Cody Strathe
4. Allen Moore
5. Torsten Kohnert
6. Ryne Olson
7. Nora Själin
8. Richie Beattie
9. Pat Noddin
10. Rob Cooke (with all 14 dogs)
11. Olivia Webster Shank-Neff