Quest executive director will resign

Yukon Quest executive director Stephen Reynolds is resigning. "It's not a bad thing," said a Quest board member who asked to remain anonymous. "He's done quite a stint." Reynolds is leaving in the spring, said...

DAWSON CITY

Yukon Quest executive director Stephen Reynolds is resigning.

“It’s not a bad thing,” said a Quest board member who asked to remain anonymous.

“He’s done quite a stint.”

Reynolds is leaving in the spring, said the board member.

“I think a change in any organization is good,” added former board member Frank Turner.

“Just like a dog team, you need new blood in there sometimes to accomplish your goals.”

Reynolds has represented the Quest well, said Turner.

Rumours of Reynolds impending resignation been circulating the mushing community since late January.

Reynolds refused to discuss his departure.

“I’m not able to talk about it,” said Tania Simpson, Reynold’s Alaskan counterpart.

“You will have to talk to him directly.”

“That hasn’t been confirmed,” said Reynolds at the Dawson Checkpoint.

The executive director is responsible for three things, said Turner.

One of them is the purse.

This year, the purse is short $50,000.

“Part of the difficulty is that YTG stepped in to help for the past two years (giving $50,000 a year to the purse),” said Turner. “That may have prevented the Quest from being more aggressive – it was a cushion.”

When Reynolds is replaced, it’s critical the board choose the right person “to move the Quest forward,” said Turner.

“The board has to be accountable.”

And the executive director needs to be “evaluated regularly to make sure everything’s moving in a positive direction.”

About nine years ago, the race approached the territorial government, under former Liberal leader Pat Duncan.

“It was the same thing then,” said Turner.

“There was no money for the purse, and it needed something to get it over the hump.”

The government committed $180,000 a year so the Quest “could focus on marketing and getting stabilized,” said Turner.

Since then, the government has given the race nearly $2 million, he said.

“And it’s still struggling – so something has gone off the rails here.”

The Quest seems to be recirculating money internally rather than bringing new money in, added Turner.

Right now, the organization is in “crisis intervention” mode, dealing with issues like the purse, or last year’s shoddy trail.

Putting out fires “takes too much time and energy that should be going into the race,” said Turner.

The race needs to focus on the purse, the trail, media and the vet program, he added.

This year, Turner brought tourists to the first checkpoint at Braeburn.

It’s part of a mushing package he offers.

“I told them to watch how mushers massage their dogs and bed them down,” he said.

“But they never saw a team.

“They went there in the middle of the night and couldn’t see anything.”

Ropes and pylons kept tourists hundreds of metres away from the mushers and their dogs.

“So what’s the point?” said Turner.

With its $75 tickets, the start banquet was also pricey, he said.

“They don’t run their raffle or bother to apply for funding, and then they charge $75 a head.”

If a musher wants to bring his or her family that’s $400, said Turner. And mushers already spend tens of thousands just to run this race.

“The Quest needs to be generating money from Outside to make the banquet accessible to mushers and their families,” he said.

“They cut back the purse and make you pay for it at the banquet.”

The Quest needs to “renew its focus and work in the spirit of what the race is supposed to be about,” added Turner.

“The Quest isn’t even close to reaching its potential.

“And someone has to be accountable for that.”

Contact Genesee Keevil at

gkeevil@yukon-news.com.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fines for contravening the fire ban start at $1,150 and could go as high as $100,000. File photo
Yukon campgrounds will open on May 1 this year. (Black Press file)
Yukon campgrounds to open early

Yukon campgrounds will open on May 1 this year. The early opening… Continue reading

Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce executive director Susan Guatto and program manager Andrei Samson outside the chamber office in downtown Whitehorse Feb. 23. (Stephanie Waddell, Yukon News)
When business models shift

Whitehorse chamber offers digital marketing workshop

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: The aesthetics and economics of highway strips

One of the many cultural experiences you enjoy while driving from Whitehorse… Continue reading

Submitted
Artwork by Grade 2 student Faith showing her thanks for everyone.
Artwork by Grade 2 student Faith showing her thanks for everyone. (Submitted)
Yukon kids express gratitude for nature, pets and friends in art campaign

More than 50 children submitted artwork featuring things they are grateful for

Team Yukon skip Laura Eby, left, directs her team as Team Northern Ontario skip Krysta Burns looks on at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary on Feb. 22. (Jeff McIntosh/CP)
Team Yukon reports positive experience at Scotties

Team Yukon played their final game at the national championship in Calgary on Thursday afternoon

Tom Ullyett, pictured, is the first Yukoner to receive the Louis St-Laurent Award of Excellence from the Canadian Bar Association for his work as a community builder and mentor in the territory. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Tom Ullyett wins lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Bar Association

Ullyett has worked in the Yukon’s justice ecosystem for 36 years as a public sector lawyer and mentor

The Blood Ties outreach van will now run seven nights a week, thanks to a boost in government funding. Logan Godin, coordinator, and Jesse Whelen, harm reduction counsellor, are seen here on May 12, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Blood Ties outreach van running seven nights a week with funding boost

The Yukon government is ramping up overdose response, considering safe supply plan

Ranj Pillai speaks to media about business relief programs in Whitehorse on April 1, 2020. The Yukon government announced Feb.25 that it will extend business support programs until September. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Government extends business relief programs to September, launches new loan

“It really gives folks some help with supporting their business with cash flow.”

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
A look at decisions made by Whitehorse City Council this week

Bylaw amendment Whitehorse city council is moving closer with changes to a… Continue reading

Susie Rogan is a veteran musher with 14 years of racing experience and Yukon Journey organizer. (Yukon Journey Facebook)
Yukon Journey mushers begin 255-mile race

Eleven mushers are participating in the race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. As the legislature prepares to return on March 4, the three parties are continuing to finalize candidates in the territory’s 19 ridings. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Nine new candidates confirmed in Yukon ridings

It has been a busy two weeks as the parties try to firm up candidates

David Malcolm, 40, has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm a police officer after an incident in Whitehorse on Feb. 18. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Man resists arrest, assaults officer

A Whitehorse man has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm… Continue reading

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. A site on Robert Service Way near the Alaska Highway has been selected as the future home of Yukon Energy’s energy storage project. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Site selected for Yukon Energy battery project

Planned to be in service by the end of 2022

Most Read