Over 300 people packed into the Westmark Fairbanks Hotel and Conference Center Thursday for the Yukon Quest Start & Draw Banquet.
Whitehorse musher Normand Casavant was the second musher to draw his bib number, and the race veteran ended up with #1. He’ll be the first musher to hit this year’s Yukon Quest trail – a draw he seemed very happy about.
“My first race I had number 10 and finished 10th. My second year I had number seven and finished seventh, so..."
Ontario resident Hank DeBruin will get the final sendoff from the crowd at the start line, as he pulled bib #18. DeBruin and his team of Siberians are back for another go at the Yukon Quest, after winning the red lantern in 2011.
Former champion John Schandelmeier drew bib #17. Schandelmeier, who won the Yukon Quest in 1996 and last raced in 2007, joked about his return to the trail. “My wife was looking at the race website one night, and she said, 'There's only 20 people signed up.' And I said, 'Man, those poor suckers!'"
Here is the complete starting order, with bib sponsor:
1. Normand Casavant – Seekins Ford Lincoln
2. Brent Sass – Apocalypse Design
3. Matt Hall – Mountain View Medical Center
4. Jerry Joinson – No Mountain Software
5. Dave Dalton – Bob Eley
6. Ken Anderson – Glacier Point Services
7. Mike Ellis – Denny’s
8. Allen Moore – Ivory Jack’s
9. Brian Wilmshurst – Boatel Bar
10. Cody Strathe – Cold Spot Feeds
11. Mandy Nauman – Arctic Fire & Safety
12. Tony Angelo – Pleasant Valley Store
13. Torsten Rohnert – Pumphouse
14. Hugh Neff – Trailside Mail
15. Jean-Denis Britten – Trademark
16. Curt Perano –Big Daddy’s Bar-B-Q
17. John Schandelmeier – Home Town Physical Therapy
18. Hank DeBruin – Mecca Bar