Mushers in the 2015 Yukon Quest 1,000 Mile International Sled Dog Race will be competing for a purse of more than $127,000.
The Boards of Directors committed to a guaranteed purse of $115,000, plus the remaining $12,110 from the 2014 race, creating a total purse award of $127,110. That money was not paid out due to less than 15 finishers.
The purse announcement comes before the official 2015 race sign-up day, scheduled for Saturday, August 2nd. A total of $102,890 was awarded in the 2014 Yukon Quest.
Meanwhile, mushers will also enjoy stability on the trail with the return of Race Marshal Doug Grilliot. This is the third-straight year Grilliot will head up the team of officials. A resident of Willow, Alaska, he also held the position in 2008 and 2009.
Grilliot is a veteran musher of the 2001 and 2002 Yukon Quest races, and an Iditarod finisher. Dr. Cristina (Nina) Hansen will join Grilliot on the trail as Head Veterinarian, and Alex Olesen will take on the role of Race Manager for the third year in a row.
“I am very much looking forward to the 2015 Yukon Quest and the opportunity to once again work with the mushers, volunteers, and staff,” said Grilliot. “With the addition of Dr. Nina Hansen as Head Veterinarian, and with Alex Olesen returning as Race Manager, I am confident that the organization will be very well prepared for the race. Good luck to all of the mushers as they begin their fall preparations.”
Olesen was also Race Manager in 2014, 2013 and 2007, and has been an Assistant Race Manager for both the Yukon and Alaska.
Dr. Hansen was the Assistant Head Veterinarian to Dr. Kathleen McGill for the past two years, and a trail vet for three years prior to that. This December, she plans to complete a Ph.D. at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where she has been developing new methods to survey for disease in wildlife. Dr. Hansen plans to return to the Yukon Quest for as many years as the race will have her.
"I am thrilled to be coming on board as the head veterinarian for the 2015 Yukon Quest,” said Dr. Hansen. “I have worked with most of the vet team, the Race Marshal and Race Manager over the last five years, so it should be a smooth transition and a fabulous team for the upcoming race".
Dr. McGill will remain on the trail as a member of the vet team, and will also sit on the Yukon Quest Rules Committee.
Entry packages for mushers interested in the 1,000 mile race are available online or at either Yukon Quest office. Mushers can sign-up in person on August 2nd at the office in Fairbanks from 12-2 pm, or at Shipyards Park in Whitehorse from 1-3 pm.
In Fairbanks, sign-up day will be held in conjunction with a Volunteer Party at the Yukon Quest Store, while in Whitehorse, sign-up day will run alongside Yukon Quest Bark Fest at Shipyards Park. Bark Fest gets underway at 10:30 am and runs until 4 pm.
The 2015 Yukon Quest will start Saturday, February 7th in Whitehorse.