Wednesday, December 7, 2011

It's a Rookie Invasion?

With the deadline to register just a couple days away, the 2012 Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race looks to be a field of rookies. So far the official roster has thirty mushers, nineteen of which are rookies. With Hans Gatt retired, and Sebastian Schnuelle taking a year off, the two top named veterans are former Quest and Iditarod Champion Lance Mackey and fan favorite (as well as consistently strong competitor) Hugh Neff. Mackey is the only champion to win both the Quest and Iditarod in the same year (his first Iditarod winning year, 2007). Neff was poised to take the Quest title last year but the death of a dog and horrible weather conditions forced the musher to scratch.

Other notable Quest Veterans in this year's race are Allen Moore, Sonny Lindner and David Dalton.

The biggest news, however, to come out of the musher roster is a team of Eastern European kennels have joined together to travel and compete in the race. All rookies, it's bringing a new and exciting element to the second most popular race in Alaska - and the only sled dog race that travels across the border into Canada making it a one of a kind event in North America.

2011 Quest Champion, Dallas Seavey, is not currently on the roster. No word if he will compete in the Quest this season or not. Seavey is part of an Iditarod mushing dynasty (third generation) as well as the youngest to complete the Iditarod and win the Quest.

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