While we’re busy hosing off 1,000 miles of trail grime and getting spiffy for tonight’s Finish & Awards banquet, here’s a rundown of this year’s YQ300 Finish banquet, held February 7th in Pelly Crossing.
2017 YQ300 Banquet Final Awards
• Opening prayer by Emma Alfred, Selkirk First Nation Elder. Ms. Alfred was presented with a dog mushing wall hanging by Wendy's Creative Quilts.
• Announcement of the 2017 YQ300 Champion, Michelle Phillips. Phillips was presented with handmade beaver mitts donated by the Selkirk First Nation, a handmade knife from Alaska Rod's, and a cheque for 50% of the race purse. Phillips thanked her sponsors, friends and family, and the many volunteers for all their hard work.
• Presentation of 2nd place to Aliy Zirkle. Zirkle was not in attendance because she had to get to Dawson in time to greet husband Allen Moore, who is competing in the Yukon Quest 1,000-mile event, but a pre-recorded video was played in which she specifically thanked the Selkirk First Nation, through whose traditional territory this year’s race passes and finishes.
• Rookie musher Nathaniel Hamlyn, competing in his first 300 mile race, received a cheque for 30% of the purse and a handmade knife from Alaska Rod's for placing 3rd overall. Hamlyn praised the dedication of the volunteers, Yellowknife musher Marcel Marin for his mentorship, and his brother Zachary for building his sled.
• 4th place went to Claudia Wickert. The Whitehorse musher was presented with a cheque for 20% of the race purse and a handmade knife from Alaska Rod's.
• Selected by the Yukon Quest veterinary team, the Veterinarian's Choice Award is presented to the musher who best demonstrates outstanding canine care while remaining competitive during the entire race. This year’s recipient was first place finisher Michelle Phillips, who was presented with handmade mittens made by Jacquie Villeneuve. The award was presented by Dr. Alan Taylor, who said, “To win the race with the team that in our minds is also in the best condition is a great achievement.”
• Given to the musher who best exemplifies the true Quest spirit, this year’s recipient of the Spirit of the North Award was Lynne Witte, who was presented with a dog mushing wall hanging courtesy of Wendy's Creative Quilts. As the race’s last official finisher, the McMillan, Michigan musher was also the recipient of the Red Lantern Award, commemorating the tradition of keeping a light on for all mushers still out on the trail.