The Yukon Quest wrapped up for the year with the finish and awards banquet at the Coast High Country Inn Feb. 17.
Quest organizers and staff, local politicians and members of the public joined the mushers for the event.
The Kwanlin Dün Sewing Group, who last year produced 10 dog blankets, presented handmade beaded patches to this year’s finishers.
After all the finishers were given an opportunity to address the crowd, the focus shifted to the awards portion of the evening.
Presented by head veterinarian Nina Hansen, the Golden Shovel Award was handed out for the first time to the three handler teams deemed most thorough and considerate. Smokin’ Aces Kennel, handlers for Matt Hall, took first. Tim Pappas’ handlers, 17th Dog, took second and Hulahula Kennel, handlers for Vebjorn Aishana Reitan, took third.
In addition to his prize for winning the race, Allen Moore was the recipient of the Joe Fellers Dawson City Award — two ounces of gold — as the first musher to reach Dawson and finish the race.
Reitan of Kaktovik, Alaska, won Rookie of the Year as the first rookie musher to finish.
Race officials awarded the Challenge of the North Award, given to the musher who best exemplifies the spirit of the Quest, to Whitehorse’s own Nathaniel Hamlyn.
Riley Dyche was the recipient of this year’s Sportsmanship Award. Selected by the mushers, the award is for the musher who demonstrates outstanding sportsmanship along the trail.
Moore was the winner of the Veterinarian’s Choice Award. The veterinary team selected Moore based on the way he cared for his dogs during the race. Moore ran the entire race with a full team of 14 dogs.
Rookie Hamlyn was the Red Lantern Award winner. The award is presented each year to the last official finisher.
Lastly, the evening ended with the presentation of the Golden Harness Award. Moore’s lead dogs, Commando and Dutch, won custom-made golden harnesses and steaks prepared by the head chef for their efforts during the Quest.
Contact John Hopkins-Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org