Whitehorse Daily Star

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TOP TEN FINISH – Rob Cooke and his team pull into the finish of the 2020 Yukon Quest in Whitehorse in 10th place on Feb. 15. Brent Sass finished in first place.

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THIRD’S THE CHARM – Cody Strathe celebrates with his dogs following a third place finish at Whitehorse in the 2020 Yukon Quest on Feb. 12.

Former Quest president named recipient of Public Volunteer Service award

Former Yukon Quest president Bev Regier has been named as a recipient of the Commissioner’s Award for Public Volunteer Service.

By Morris Prokop on November 22, 2021

Former Yukon Quest president Bev Regier has been named as a recipient of the Commissioner’s Award for Public Volunteer Service.

According to a press release from Commissioner of Yukon Angélique Bernard, Regier was honoured for “all her work over the last 18 years with the Yukon Quest. Bev has done everything from working the trails and President of the Board of Directors to fundraising.”

Regier is humble when it comes to receiving the award.

“I feel very privileged but, you know, I couldn’t have done it on my own,” said Regier. “One person doesn’t run the Quest. It takes a team and great volunteers and friends. It was a team effort ... I’m very proud of all of us. It’s an award that I share with all the volunteers and all my friends and people like the Quest team. It’s a big family. I was very honoured to receive the award.”

Regier explains how she ended up going from being a volunteer to president of the Quest board.

“I came up here from Victoria in August of 2003 and the only person I knew was my friend Margaret (Leckie) who I had worked with with the Royal Bank in Victoria. I came up with Marg and I stayed in Horwoods Mall. I said to Marg ‘I want to volunteer in the community and meet people ... what do you think?’ and she said ‘just go down the street there to the Yukon Quest.’ I said ‘what’s the Yukon Quest?’ I’d never heard of the Yukon Quest. She said ‘it’s a sled dog race.’ I said ‘oh, OK.’ So I walked into the office and Stephen Reynolds was the ED and Sharon Riordan was the office manager and let’s put it this way: I walked into that office and I was there ever since,” Regier related.

But first, she had to get up to speed as to what the legendary race was all about.

“Like I say, I didn’t have a clue, so I said to Stephen ‘I’ve got to learn about the Quest’, so I read books, and (watched) videos, and actually I went home to Victoria for Christmas,” recalled Regier. “I took a whole bunch of different stuff about the Quest so I taught my boys and my family about the Quest. I’m five generations Victorian, so all my relatives are in Victoria. So it was very exciting.”

Regier gradually worked her way up the Quest hierarchy.

“I started out as a volunteer and then I worked in the office, phoning people about their memberships, which was sort of good, because I got to know the people. Doing errands and learning about the Quest and Sherry and Stephen were so good. They were so knowledgable. I mean, Stephen Reynolds was there for six and a half years as the ED.”

“Then they opened up a position for me and I was in charge of all the volunteers, selling raffle tickets and organizing the volunteers.

Regier served as the president of the board for two terms, or four years.

“I got on the board and became president. I’ve met some wonderful people, all around the world and on both sides of the borders. It’s just unimaginable, the friends that you get, and I’ve got them for life. They were sort of my family when I came up here because I had nobody. It was a pleasure.”

Needless to say, Regier has many highlights of her 18-year Quest journey.

“When I first came up ... I remember saying to Stephen – they were having a Christmas parade – and I said to Stephen ‘how come we don’t have a float in the parade?’ (Stephen said) ‘oh, yeah, Bev, we’ll have to take a look at that’ and it never came about. And so I was so happy cause I got a float in the parade. My friend Teresa (Kleenjo), we talked about it, and she asked her boss Kevin (Tarapaski) – he has AFAB. Kevin was all keen, and so Kevin did the float and even his workers helped on the float and Rob Cooke was so good. He used to run Siberian Huskies that went on our float. Rob Cooke is also awesome volunteering ... anytime I phoned Rob for help, he was there. He’s a wonderful person,” related Regier.

“Another highlight too I always wanted a sign on the highway and so I got the sign. We put it up on the highway ... Michelle Philips is on it. So I’m very proud of that too.”

Regier had a unique approach to fundraising which made her very successful.

“When I went out and got sponsorships for the Quest, I wanted to make the sponsorship more like a friendship, to build the friendships between stores and merchants. I feel I really established that in 18 years. I have some wonderful friends in the community and businesses donated all the time to my silent auctions. I could walk down the street and I’d have somebody say ‘hey, Bev, what do you want?’ I could phone anybody and ‘oh I need this’ and ‘sure, Bev’. I’m very very privileged and the Yukon’s a wonderful place. People are so giving.”

In addition, Regier started the popular Quest’s Pet Pictures with Santa.

“It takes a combination of all that to make it work and people don’t seem to understand that,” stated Regier.

The low point of Regier’s time with the Quest was when the 2020 race was canceled due to COVID.

“My hardest – it wasn’t my decision, but my hardest decision making with the board was when we had to cancel the race because of COVID. I felt horrible ... but we had to protect the public and the communities and do the right thing. I know the mushers were very upset and I understand that, don’t get me wrong, but we just had to do the right thing.”

Regier takes some lasting memories with her down the Quest trail.

“I just think I was very blessed with all the friends that I have got for life, “ said Regier. “I remember every other year, the Quest starts in Whitehorse, and I used to love it when people from Germany or France or back east used to come for the race when it started here. We looked forward to it. It was like a family reunion in a way. And we always went out – I organized it in February, and we did the Chinese New Year, so that was sort of cool. We’d all get together.

“I have people in Skagway, all around the world, donate to our silent auction. I’ve got some really great friends.”

Despite her love of the event, Regier has decided to take a break from it.

“I decided ... if I was with the Quest right now, I’d be running around and organizing the sales tickets at the tables with the ladies or ... I’d be running around getting things for our silent auction, for the banquet, so I’d be very very busy, so I’m gonna step back for a year, and ... just relax, and give myself some ‘me time,’” said Regier.

“We have two new people in the office and Bonnie (Michaudville) is the Executive Director and I told her if you ever need any help – I mean, they’ll phone me. As far as that goes, I’m always here for them, and they know that. I’m not with the Quest, but the Quest will always be in my heart.”

Kelly Lu , the other person in the office, is the Operations Manager for the Quest.

As for how she feels about the direction the race organizers have taken since she stepped down, Regier said, “It’s a different situation right now, because we’re not doing the 1,000 mile international race, it’s just these small races, but it’ll be a good learning lesson for the girls to get into it, by doing small races before they do a big one. That’s a lot more complicated, when you go international.”

Despite stepping down as president early in June, Regier is still keeping herself busy.

“I’m doing a cleanup. I have tons of paperwork. I had about 18 years worth of Quest stuff in Banker’s Boxes. So I’m cleaning all that out.

“I’m interested in getting involved with another project. If people need help raising money, I’m here for them. And I’ve had people call and ask me if I would help. I said certainly I would help them raise money. It’s just because of all my contacts and that.”

Regier concluded “my time with the Quest, I certainly enjoyed it. I love the Quest. It will always be in my heart. I wish them nothing but all the best, and I’m sure they’ll do very well.”

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