Brent Sass hands out steak to his dog team at the finish line after winning the 2019 Yukon Quest on Feb. 11 in Fairbanks, Alaska. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News)

Alaskan musher wins Yukon Quest with full team of dogs

Sass arrived at the finish in Fairbanks just before 1 p.m. local time

Brent Sass is the 2019 Yukon Quest winner after reaching the finish line in Fairbanks, Alaska, just before 1 p.m. local time on Monday, with a full team of 14 dogs.

Leading him into the finish line were Sluice and Morello. Eleven of his 14 dogs were rookies, while the other three were part of his 2015 winning team.

READ MORE: Yukon Quest field spreads out across the Alaskan border

“They’re definitely not rookies anymore,” said Sass. “I can’t wait until next year. They’re really going to have the knowledge and the know-how. They never hesitated a bit … they just kept getting faster.”

This is Sass’s 12th year running the race.

“I think I really tried to just ignore my competitors and not really care about anybody,” said Sass.

“I jumped off the ice on Birch Creek there and had a really solid run. I figured it was cold out, and there was very little chance of anybody blowing through Central, so I gambled. It just puts a few more miles on you before you go over Eagle Summit, which is always a test.”

He said this race was extra special because of his dog Jeep, who was a sprint dog for one of his good friends – Joee Redington – before Redington died.

“Joee always said when we were chatting and hanging out, that this dog right here could run a distance race,” said Sass. “After Joee passed away, I bought Jeep … and said, ‘You’re going to be a distance dog.’

“I trained him for two seasons and he was phenomenal. I mean, he led over 500 miles of the race. … I know Joee’s spirit was out there with me the whole way smiling down on us.”

Sass was the third musher to start the race, leaving the start line in Whitehorse at 11:06 a.m. on Feb. 2 with nine dogs.

When mushers arrived in Dawson City for the 36-hour layover, it was Sass leading the way. He reached the checkpoint at 11:24 a.m. on Feb. 5 with a 30-minute lead on rival Michelle Phillips.

As the first musher to reach Dawson and finish the race, Sass wins the Dawson Award — two ounces of Klondike placer gold. Sass has previously won the award in 2015 and 2016.

Just Posted

RCMP urge caution for back to school drivers

Police are asking drivers to slow down and watch for pedestrians

Traffic accident on Highway 1

Hour long backup from Abbotsford to Langley

Chilliwack encouraged to commemorate liberation of Holland

Planning already underway to mark the 75th anniversary of the event

Speth to take oath of office at special school board meeting

Speth is the newest trustee to join Fraser Cascade school district

Sts’ailes invites adults to become engaged in Halq’eméylem with new video series

‘Qw’oqwel te Qw’oqwel’ gives language learners an immersive way to learn Halq’eméylem

Expanded support to help B.C. youth from care attend university still falling short

Inadequate support, limited awareness and eligibility restrictions some of the existing challenges

Ethnic media aim to help maintain boost in voting by new Canadians

Statistics Canada says new Canadians made up about one-fifth of the voting population in 2016

Cross-examination begins for B.C. dad accused of killing young daughters

Andrew Berry is charged in the deaths of six-year-old Chloe and four-year-old Aubrey in 2017

Dog attacked by river otters, Penticton owner says

Marie Fletcher says her dog was pulled underwater by four river otters in the Penticton Channel

BC SPCA overwhelmed with cats, kittens needing homes

Large number of cruelty investigations, plus normal ‘kitten season’ to blame

Memorial to deceased teen stays in place through Labour Day

Hundreds of tributes have been left at the Walnut Grove skate park

Wife charged in husband’s death in Sechelt

Karin Fischer has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of her husband, Max

Most Read