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

Maquinna Elementary wins SD70 school track meet

Neill School finished second, and Wickaninnish Elementary from Tofino finished third

‘Our culture is not a religion,’ indigenous educator tells court in case of smudging at Port Alberni school

Mother also gave evidence Tuesday in B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo, case continues Wednesday

Port Alberni rallies for mill workers

Fundraisers helping ease the sting of five months without work

Port Alberni man arrested after armed liquor store robbery

Suspect brandished a weapon at King Edward Liquor Store

Bye bye Bei Bei: Giant panda born in U.S. zoo heads to China

Panda heads back to China as part of cooperative breeding program

B.C. to advocate for frustrated, confused, unhappy cellphone users, says premier

Maple Ridge New Democrat Bob D’Eith to advocate for more affordable and transparent cellphone options

B.C. man who killed Belgian tourist near Boston Bar gets life in prison, no parole until 2042

Sean McKenzie pleaded guilty to second-degree murder of 28-year-old Amelie Christelle Sakkalis

Salvation Army kettle campaign targets $200,000 for Island residents in need

Goal is to raise $250,000 this year for Vancouver Island residents needing support

‘Very disrespectful’: B.C. first responder irked by motorists recording collisions on cellphones

Central Cariboo Search and Rescue deputy chief challenges motorists to break the habit

Daily cannabis linked to reduction in opioid use: B.C. researchers

Researchers looked at a group of 1,152 people in Vancouver who reported substance use and chronic pain

Island student lobbies school board for dress code consistency

Jaylene Kuo contacted school trustees after seeing dress guidelines at brother’s school

Bids down, costs up on Highway 1, B.C. independent contractors say

Rally protests NDP government’s union-only public construction

Most Read