Sign-ups for the 37th Yukon Quest 1,000-Mile International Sled Dog Race began Saturday, Aug. 3, with mushers registering on both ends of the trail in the Quest offices in Fairbanks and in Whitehorse, Yukon.
The 1,000-mile journey, which alternates starting between Fairbanks and Whitehorse each year, begins Feb. 1, 2020, in Fairbanks.
Ten mushers, including two rookies, signed up for the 2020 Quest and 10 more signed up for the YQ300, a 300-mile race that follows the first 300 miles of the Quest route. The YQ300 serves as a qualifying race for the Quest and the Iditarod.
Among the 1000-mile Quest registrants is defending champion Brent Sass. Sass was the first to register in the Fairbanks office. Twins Lori and Louve Tweddell signed up in the Whitehorse office and make up the field’s rookie duo. The two will be embarking on the 1,000-mile international journey with a film crew.
The Quest is one of three 1,000-mile sled dog races in the world. The other two are the Iditarod and the Finnmarksløpet in Norway.
“It’s a nine- to 14-day adventure, which is totally supported with a team of 18 vets and probably 50 logistics people, officials, pilots,” Alaska Executive Director Marti Steury said about the race. “And basically the teams pack up their sleds and carry enough gear to go from point A to point B and there’s nine points in between.
“One of the things that we do with (dogs) that is just a joy and a privilege is we challenge ourselves by doing long trail trips and that is what these races are. There are a lot of serious competitors, there’s a lot of people that want to do this for the experience and there’s a lot of people that just want to share the time on the trail with their dogs.”
The registration period for the Quest lasts until Jan. 3, but after Nov. 30, 2019, an additional $500 late fee is added to the $2,000 registration cost.
Contact News-Miner sports writer Laura Stickells at 459-7530. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMSports.