Sign-ups for the 2015 Yukon Quest closed Friday, and among the roster is one Nome musher as well as a mushing heavyweight running the international race for the first time.
Nome’s Rolland Trowbridge will be making his rookie run on the trail from Whitehorse to Fairbanks this year. No other western Alaska mushers are running the Quest, but one other rookie is getting a lot of attention: Ray Redington, Jr. The Knik musher, who’s run more than a dozen Iditarods and made a habit of top-ten finishes over the past few years, signed up at the last minute Friday to run his first Yukon Quest. His lead dogs, mother Viper and son Oklahoma, are both Iditarod veterans.
Defending champion Allen Moore hopes to pull off a hat trick this year after taking first in the 2013 and 2014 race. Moore is running the team he shares with his wife and fellow big league musher Aliy Zirkle. Tok musher Hugh Neff is back to a run a race he won back in 2012 but has finished second behind Moore now for two years in a row.
Jeff King will take his eighth run at the Quest, after a 25-year absence from the race. He last ran in 1990 and last won in 1989. Also looking for a return to past glory is Lance Mackey, who won four years in a row from 2005 through 2008, but scratched last year. Healy’s Dave Dalton, who’s run the race 24 times, is also in the mix.
Withdrawing from the race last year just 100 miles from the finish line due to a head injury, Eureka musher Brent Sass is returning to the race with a team of dogs he said he’s raised since they were puppies. Other than last year’s withdraw, Sass has finished in the top ten every year since 2008, and was in second place when he left last year’s race.
Continuing to make a name for himself is young Norwegian musher Joar Leifseth Ulsom, who finished 6th in his 2012 rookie Quest run and in the top ten of the last two Iditarods.
The 32nd annual Yukon Quest starts Saturday, Feb. 7, in Whitehorse, in Canada’s Yukon Territory.