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Yukon Dog Mushers Association holds first event of the season at Ibex Valley tracks

Conditions were cold and bright for one of the sport’s first events of the winter

The Yukon Dog Musher’s Association held its first preliminary race of the year on Dec. 12 at the Ibex Valley tracks, with a kids sprint and skijoring events in addition to eight-mile (13-kilometre), 15-mile (24-km) and five-mile (eight-km) distances.

Races took place for dog sledding and skijoring on Dec. 12 starting at 11 a.m.

In the kids race sprint, in which young racers competed with one dog, Heidi Johnson came in first place with a time of 15 minutes and 41 seconds. In second, Landon Nielson had a time of 18 minutes and 13 seconds and Elan Johnson came in third with a time of 22 minutes and 16 seconds.

In the four-dog five-mile category, Mathieu Devred took first place with a time of 14 minutes and five seconds. Second and third place were just seconds apart, with Alex Rochat finishing with a time of sixteen minutes flat and Laura Vinnedge coming third with a time of sixteen minutes and four seconds.

In the six-dog eight-mile race, Mandy Johnson took first place with a time of 26 minutes and 25 seconds. Armin Johnson came second with a time of 27 minutes and 16 seconds and Maria Metzen took third place with a time of 34 minutes and 15 seconds.

The longest race event was the 10-dog 15-mile race, which all four participants completed in under an hour. Armin Johnson took first place with a time of 50 minutes and 26 seconds. Mandy Johnson came second in a close time with 51 minutes and 26 seconds and Ed Hopkins clinched third place with a time of 58 minutes and 38 seconds.

Four people total took part in the skijor versions of the races. John Barryman completed the five-mile race with a time of 23 minutes and 28 seconds and Virginia Sarrazin took first place in the eight-mile skijor with a time of 28 minutes and 13 seconds.

“Thanks to everyone who came out and supported,” said the association on social media.

The preliminary races are qualifiers for the Babe Southwick race, which will take place on the same track. The association’s trails opened on Dec. 4.

A second preliminary race event is planned for Jan. 9 in lead up to the YDMA’s plan to host this year’s Babe Southwick Memorial Race on Feb. 12 and 13 in 2021.

Despite an uncertain season due to COVID-19, a number of other races have been scheduled for the new year, including the Carbon Hill Raceday, Silver Sled Dog Sled Race, Percy DeWolfe Memorial Mail Race, Yukon Brewing Copper Haul League and the newly announced Yukon Journey.

Contact Haley Ritchie at