FAIRBANKS — Former Yukon Quest champion Hugh Neff said he would appeal the Yukon Quest organization’s decision Tuesday to ban him from entering the 1,000-mile Yukon Quest or the shorter YQ300 in 2019. Race officials said Neff’s actions contributed to the death of one of his dogs midway through this year’s race.
The Quest organization said he also will be required to run the 300-mile race before he can again run the 1,000-mile race, which runs between Fairbanks and Whitehorse, in Canada’s Yukon.
Neff, of Tok, who won the 1,000-mile Quest in 2012 and 2016, has become a regular contender. But he dropped out of the 2018 Quest after the death of one of his dogs, Boppy.
“There is two sides to every story,” Neff wrote on his Facebook page Wednesday morning. “We will be showing ours soon. Not a day goes by that we don’t miss the ‘Bopinator.’ He was a special boy who will always be in our hearts. God Bless our dawgs, Bless Alaska and especially the Yukon Quest.
“We LOVE this race that Grandpa LeRoy created and hope to see it evolve,” he wrote. “We will be filing an appeal within the next few weeks. 49 Forever...”
Boppy, a 4-year-old who was one of Neff’s main leaders, died at Clinton Creek, a cabin about 45 miles short of the Yukon Quest halfway point in Dawson City this year. Neff scratched in Dawson.
“Boppy died of aspiration pneumonia caused by inhaling vomited stomach contents,” the race organization stated in its news release. “Other findings include mild stomach ulcers, moderate intestinal inflammation, mild whipworm infestation, skeletal muscle necrosis and severe weight loss and muscle wasting.”
Some of these conditions could have been prevented with proper dog care, the race’s head veterinarian said.
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