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Yukon Quest Sled Dog Race Begins

Yukon Quest Sled Dog Race Begins

German Shepard

Yukon Quest Sled Dog Race

Yukon Quest Sled Dog Race Begins

The annual dog sled race from Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada to Fairbanks, Alaska began this morning as 26 dog teams headed of on this epic 1,600km race.

This years race is featuring for past champions, all Alaskans including Allen Moore, who won the past two years, and Lance Mackey, who has the record for the most wins, with four consecutive victories between 2005 and 2008.

Ed Hopkins from Tagish, Yukon says the relationship between the musher and his/her dogs is an important factor in a team’s success.

Hopkins Said, “You rely on them and they rely on you, so it’s like a really tight marriage. If you don’t have the right bond or the right chemistry, you might have problems, it won’t be a smooth ride.”

The dog mushers starts the race with a maximum of 14 dogs in their team, because usually some dogs drop out from fatigue, sickness or injury during the race. A dog team must have at least 6 dogs to continue racing or they will be disqualified.

The dogs are check by veterinarians at every checkpoint along the race.

The race course is prepared by two teams, each starting at one end of the course. Called The Rangers they start in mid January and one of their biggest headaches is the jumble ice. It sometimes occurs during freeze-up when huge chunks of river ice collide, heaving up and freezing in place, making it very difficult for the dog teams to pass through.

John Mitchell, of Dawson City, Yukon, a member of the Canadian Rangers, says, “The only thing constant about the trail is change. It changes hourly, daily, weekly. It’s totally on the move all the time.”

Each dog team is carrying a tracker so there position can be recorded and posted on the Yukon Quest website.

This years Yukon Quest participant are competing for $127,000 in prizes.

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