Last night the Yukon Quest community in Fairbanks came together to celebrate the 30th running of the "the race that all long distance mushers and fans must experience."
The crowd heard some great stories about the trail, including one from Allen about when he was a couple of hours into the last leg from Two Rivers to Fairbanks - he'd been ski-poling hard and the dogs loping along nicely when he looked behind him and saw what looked like a headlight. Allen said it scared him that Hugh was catching him so he ski-poled harder and encouraged the dogs more! An hour or so later he looked behind him again and the light was still there until it dawned on him that what he was seeing was the reflector tape of the trail markers. That might explain why his run from Two Rivers to Fairbanks was so fast!
Other mushers said some super things about Allen and the SP Kennel family and expressed how much they believed Allen really deserved this win. Congratulations to all the other mushers and prizewinners: Normand Casavant for the Veterinarian's Choice, Brent Sass for Sportsmanship, Scott Smith as Rookie of the Year, Darrin Lee for the Spirit of the North award, Hugh Neff for the Dawson City award and Dyan Bergen for the Red Lantern. It was a great night and thanks must go out to the Yukon Quest Board, staff, vets, volunteers and fans for making it such a great race!
Allen receives the Yukon Quest Champion trophy
Hear some snippets from Allen's speech:
The crowd at the YQ Finish Banquet
Click here for a great article about the banquet and Golden Harness award from Jeff Richardson at the Newsminer