Kotzebue’s Katherine Keith is the final musher to enter the 2017 Yukon Quest International Sled Dog race, rounding out a field of twenty-three mushers in the first thousand-mile race of the season.
Though Keith has been running dogs for ten years, this will be her first run in the Yukon Quest.
She joins a total of seven rookies this year, including previous Iditarod competitors Jessie Royer, Ed Stielstra and Jeff Deeter – in addition to Ben Good of North Pole, AK; Severin Cathry of Fairbanks; and French contender Sebastien Dos Santos Borges.
This year’s race has also drawn a diverse group of international competitors. Japan, Sweden, Canada, Switzerland, the UK, Belgium, and France are all represented.
Last year’s top three finishers will be returning for the 2017 race, including reigning 2016 champion Hugh Neff, 2nd place finisher and 2015 champion Brent Sass, and back-to-back 2013/2014 champion, Allen Moore.
The purse is set at $120,000.
The diverse list of twenty-three competitors from around the world will be kicking off the 34th annual running of the Yukon Quest — from Whitehorse, Yukon Territory to Fairbanks — on February 4th.