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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Tofino mayor urges “kindness” as tourism reopens

“Health and safety matters to everyone.”

Resorts in Tofino and Ucluelet prepare to reopen in June

“We need to get the tourist economy in our communities back up and running.”

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve plans limited reopening on June 4

The Park Reserve shut down on March 18 to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Pacific Rim Hospice Society gifting free wellness “check-ins” to all West Coast residents

“This pandemic has led to a lot of isolation and it’s helpful for anybody just to have a soundboard.”

Accident, downed power lines closes Highway 4 west of Port Alberni

Detour is available near Hector Road as BC Hydro crews work to restore power

Mission prison COVID-19 outbreak ends, 9 new cases in B.C.

New positive test at Port Coquitlam care home

Man who bound, murdered Vancouver Island teen still a risk to public: parole board

Kimberly Proctor’s killer is still ‘mismanaging emotions,’ has had ‘temper tantrums’

VIDEO: Humpback whales put on quite a show

The ‘playful’ pod lingered by a Campbell River tour operator’s boat for quite some time

Getting hitched at historic B.C. gold rush town still on table during COVID-19 pandemic

Micro-weddings, online visits, offered at Barkerville Historic Town and Park

Stolen gargoyle returns to its perch on central Vancouver Island yard

Petey, a concrete gargoyle statue, was returned by Nanaimo RCMP after being found by city crew

Revelstoke woman finds welcoming letter on her Alberta-registered truck

There have been multiple reports online of vandalism to vehicles with Alberta licence plates

Spirit bear possibly spotted in West Kootenay

A local resident spotted the white-coloured bear while on an evening trail run near Castlegar on May 27

B.C. businesses ‘can’t shoulder burden’ of COVID-19 sick pay

Trudeau’s plan should be tied to federal emergency aid

B.C. teacher reprimanded for sharing homophobic and sexist memes, making racist comments

Klaus Hardy Breslauer was accused of making a laundry list of concerning decisions as a science teacher

Most Read