Allen Moore was the second musher to draw his bib number at the Start Banquet, but he will be the first musher to hit the trail of the Yukon Quest 1,000 Mile Sled Dog Race.
Fitting really, for the two-time defending champion from Two Rivers, Alaska.
“My eyesight is not that good, but this says I'm number one!" exclaimed Moore, in front of a packed house at the Yukon Convention Centre.
Moore will be followed out of the chute by fellow Alaskan Brent Sass, who was thrilled to pull Bib #2. The two are of course quite familiar with each other, and spent much of last year’s race battling for top spot, before Sass went down to injury.
“I kind of let (my dogs) down last year,” said an emotional Sass. “But they're a strong team, the strongest I've ever had. We're ready to kick some butt!"
Veteran Lance Mackey will be running his eighth Yukon Quest, and he’s not adverse to a little friendly competition before the race gets going.
“Brent, you’ve got your hands full,” challenged Mackey, who pulled Bib #8.
The first musher to draw a bib was Whitehorse’s Rob Cooke, who’ll leave the start line wearing Bib #21. The final musher to draw was Ray Redington Jr. Redington, who is running his first Yukon Quest, thanked local musher Gerry Willomitzer for the hospitality, mentioning their training run on Lake Laberge this week. He’ll don Bib #19.
And Hugh Neff, who is running his 15th Yukon Quest this year, will be the last musher to leave the chute.
“I told all my friends from Germany that I really have a special connection with #26, so this feels good,” he joked.
Neff made a toast in memory of Yukon elder Alex Van Bibber, calling him "the spirit of the Yukon".
The full list of mushers and their Bib numbers is as follows:
1. Allen Moore
2. Brent Sass
3. Normand Casavant
4. Cody Strathe
5. Nicolas Vanier
6. Tamra Reynolds
7. Damon Tedford
8. Lance Mackey
9. Jeff King
10. Tony Angelo
11. Dave Dalton
12. Kristin Knight Pace
13. Rolland Trowbridge
14. Torsten Kohnert
15. Scott Smith
16. Ryne Olson
17. Brian Wilmshurst
18. Joar Ulsom
19. Ray Redington Jr.
20. Ed Hopkins
21. Rob Cooke
22. Mike Ellis
23. Magnus Kaltenborn
24. Jason Campeau
25. Matt Hall
26. Hugh Neff
The 2015 Yukon Quest will start Saturday, February 7th in Whitehorse.