Below are the two winning stories from the Yukon Quest (Short) Story Writing Competition held by the Yukon Literacy Coalition and Yukon Quest.
In addition to the winners, we'd like to provide honourable mentions to the runners up in each category!We would also appreciate if you could throw in an Honourable Mention for the runners up in each category.
Grade 1-3 Runner Up: Caleb Threlfall - age five from Australia.
Grade 4-6 Runner Up: Maddy Mead - age 10 from Whitehorse Elementary School.
Yukon Quest Story Contest Winner (Grade 1-3 category)
Written by Huxley Briggs, Grade 1
The Challenges of the Yukon Quest
Nick Hyelow’s homestead was a quiet one on the side of the Takini River. There were very few people living there. Nick was helping his Dad with dog sledding and he liked the dogs so much he decided to get his own little team. He started off with 10 dogs, which soon grew to 30.
He thought that was enough dogs to race in the Yukon Quest just like his Dad did. So he trained and trained and raced a few smaller races to prepare his team. Nick’s best dog was Gunner so he chose him to be the lead dog.
Finally the day of the race came. He got the dogs loaded up in the trailer. He backed his truck to his trailer and loaded his supplies. Off he went! It took him 13 hours to get there. When he finally got there, he saw some dogs and owners already there. He lined up with his dogs, got ready and checked over all his gear. When Nick’s name was called to the starting line, he went and got ready.
“Mush!” Nick called to the dogs and they got going, faster and faster. It felt like they were flying! The dogs slowed to their usual running pace. They kept running and running until they were tired.
Nick gave them a little bit of moose meat to give them more energy. He wasn’t really hungry but he knew he had to eat something, so he grabbed a bag of moose jerky that he was excited about trying. The dogs perked their ears up when a sled went by. Nick harnessed the dogs back up and got on the trail again.
The next 5 days weren’t easy. The dogs did it though. Once they got close to Dawson, they started to see the pass. The dogs got excited and took up speed. They zoomed through the pass. They stopped at the checkpoint in Dawson and there was already one dog team there. One of Nick’s dogs behind the lead dog fell and hurt itself on it’s hip. Not a cut, just a bruise, but the dog couldn’t run so they had to drop it off in Dawson. Nick fed the rest of his dogs food and ate some of his own food. While the dogs rested he slept for 8 hours before he went back on the trail.
Gunner was doing surprisingly well. It took 2 days to get to Pelly. They needed some more supplies so they loaded some stuff into the sled. The dogs were eager to go but Nick had to rest because he was really tired. So he slept for another 20 minutes and then kept going.
In Carmacks, Nick stayed for a surprisingly long nap, an hour long! The dogs slept too even Gunner who could never get tired, slept. After a really good meal of moose meat and vegetables they were back on the road. They pushed so hard.
They saw a team in front of them and wanted to get ahead. He yelled out “Trail!” and they got ready to pass. When they tried to pass, the dogs wanted to play. All the dogs, except Gunner started playing and running around. Gunner tried to get them away but it was one dog against two teams so it didn’t work! It was a big mess of dogs and harnesses all twisted and tied and knots! The 2 teams rounded the corner and both mushers saw the finish line. They jumped off and unhooked their dogs. There was another team behind them that yelled ”Trail” and they got past and got to the finish line first. Nick got there second.
For his first time in the Quest, that’s pretty good. His parents were there to greet him. Nick felt good and his parents were very proud of him winning second. When Nick got home he fed his dogs and slept for a whole day and a night!
Yukon Quest Story Contest Winner (Grade 3-6 category)
Written by Rachel Cowx, Age 10
CAT mushes to a Yukon Quest Win!
It was the day of the Yukon Quest. The dogs were barking with excitement! “When my team wins we’re gonna use the money to get an even faster sled!”, barked one brown husky. “Dream on! When MY team wins the master is going to use that money to buy better food. The kind that makes you fast and hyper!”, yipped a black one jumping up and down. “Yeah right! MY team is going to win and when we do we’re saving ALL of it to get anything we want!”, sneered a pure white dog.
As the dogs bickered non-stop about which team would win, a back cat watched in the distance. “Well, this is a waste of time. Who would be so excited about running a couple kilometers chained to a sled?”, she sneered. Then she walked over to the sleds and watched as the owner hopped into the sled. They were about to leave when the cat suddenly jumped in. “What am I doing in here?”, she exclaimed!
“I saw the blankets and couldn’t help myself!” The one bad thing about being a stray is the cold!”, she whined to herself. I’ve watched this course many times and I’ve never seen a dog go this way.
She looked up to see that the master was not focused on her so she tapped one dog on the shoulder. This dog was quite large. He had black and white fur, amber eyes, a long fluffy tail, and muscular body type.
The dog turned around. He was panting hard and sweat was already starting to drip around his eyes. The dog kept running even though his head was turned. “What do you want CAT?!”, he sneered looking unimpressed by her appearance. “Yes, well I was wondering where we are going”, mewed the cat. “Oh and my name is Shadow”, she informed. “Well Shadow, the leader wants to try a new route. It might be more dangerous but it’s quicker”, the dog explained.
Just as the dog turned it’s head back, the lead dog, Rusty, fell through some thin ice they hadn’t seen. He had fallen into ice- cold water and now had frost bite. The master jumped off the sled to get the lead dog out of the water. Who was going to lead the team now?
Suddenly Shadow decided to take charge. She placed the strongest dogs up front, the ok ones in the middle, and the weak or tired ones in the back. Rusty, the leader was placed in the sled with his master and had blankets wrapped around his whole body. Shadow harnessed herself at the front and cried out MUSH! Then she and all the dogs started moving. They all ran as fast as they could, the slender cat in front leading them along.
It appeared that all the other sleds had had similar accidents. Shadow and her team were the first there! They had won the Yukon Quest 1984! Rusty would no longer be racing because of his injuries, and while everybody would miss him, Shadow was indeed a better leader. Shadow became famous and led her team to many victories. She even learned the names of the 6 dogs. There was Snow, Shredder, Lucy, Mack, Swiss, Kenny and her best friend out of them all, Tyler. She died about 30 years ago but it would be hard to find someone in the Yukon who hasn’t heard of Shadow.