Yukon Quest
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Yukon Quest 2000 PosterYukon Quest

The Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race - biggest long-distance race of the year in Fairbanks.

 

[Yukon Quest 2000 Poster is by Illinois artist Susan T. Patton, whose family lives in Fairbanks. T-shirts and other items with it available at the Yukon Quest Store]

This over 1,000 mile race generally alternates directions each year between Fairbanks and Whitehorse, Canada (even numbered years leaving from Fairbanks, odd years from Whitehorse). 

However, in 1998, the race went in the same direction as in 1997, starting in Whitehorse and finishing in Fairbanks approximately 10 to 12 days later. The direction, from Canada-to-Alaska, was chosen to commemorate the 1898 Gold Rush. In 1999 and 2000, 2002, and 2004 the race began in Fairbanks. The first race was in February of 1984 when 26 teams competed. Click hyperlink to go to information on the current year's race.

The Yukon Quest sells tickets to a raffle (prize, $10,000 in 2000). In 2004, the purse for the race itself was $125,000 to be shared by the top 15 finishers ($30,000 for the winner).

Mushers begin racing with as many as 14 dogs.  The Yukon Quest has been called the "toughest race on earth," due to its rugged terrain and long distances between checkpoints. Much of the race follows the Yukon River, still frozen in February when the race is run. The record time of 10 days, 16 hours and 20 minutes was set in 1995

In 2000 there were 2 additional races added. The Yukon Quest sponsored the Yukon 250  at 4 P.M. the same day. This race from Fairbanks to Circle City  served primarily as a qualifier race for the Yukon Quest, and the Iditarod, which is always held the first Saturday in March. The trail took mushers over the scenic Eagle and Rosebud Summits. The very next day, the Yukon Quest sponsored the Junior Yukon Quest for mushers ages 14-17. It was a long distance race of 120 miles to Chena Hot Springs Resort. In 2005, the 250 was lengthened to 300 miles, and became known as the Yukon Quest 300.

You can learn more about the races and perhaps even visit with a musher, at the Yukon Quest Trading Co. store on Fifth and Cushman Street in downtown Fairbanks. They have their own web page where they post times for the various checkpoints. You can also e-mail them at  yukonquest@mosquitonet.com or call (907) 452-7954, or fax (907) 452-7959.

GENERAL RACE PROCEDURE (from their web site)

1. Race Start:

 The race will be held as scheduled, regardless of weather conditions. Each year the starting date and time will be determined by YQI. For safety reasons, changes to this rule may be made by the Race Marshal with approval from the YQI Rules Committee.

2. Entry Fee, Dates, Limits:

Receipt of the entry fee, completed application form, completed driver's biography, and driver photo will constitute the driver's intent to enter the race, and further acknowledges that the driver understands and agrees to comply with each and every rule as stated. YQI reserves the right to reject any entry. Entries are determined on a first-come, first-served basis. Entries close at midnight local time December 31, 2000. Certified postmarked entries by this date will be accepted. The maximum number of teams for the race is fifty (50). Once the maximum of fifty is reached, a waiting list will be established, again on a first-come, first-served basis. To qualify for the waiting list, the official entry form must be completed, and a $25.00 non-refundable fee paid. If a driver withdraws from the list of fifty, the name at the top of the waiting list will be moved up to the entry list, upon receipt of the rest of the required fees. The entry fee will be the fee applicable on the date the wait-list deposit is posted with YQI. The slot will be held open for no more than seven (7) days after notification. Entry fees including food drop, membership, and race entry in 2001 were as follows:

July/August $1,000 - September/October $1,200 - November/December $1,400
(All Dollar amounts are in U.S, currency)

For more information, visit their web site.

 

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