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FIRST PLACE FINISHER – Brent Sass competes in the 2020 Yukon Quest by the Takhini River Bridge near Whitehorse on Feb. 11 on his way to a first-place finish in the last 1,000-mile Quest that started in Alaska.

Yukon Quest increases race purses by $20,000

The Yukon Quest International Association (Canada) has announced an increase of $20,000 to its race purses.

By Whitehorse Star on November 18, 2022

The Yukon Quest International Association (Canada) has announced an increase of $20,000 to its race purses.

According to a Yukon Quest press release, the purse for the Yukon Quest 450 has increased by $10,000 to a new total minimum guaranteed purse of $45,000 paid to the top 10, with $8,550 going to the winner.

The Yukon Quest 250 purse has also increased by $7,000 to a minimum guaranteed purse of $22,000 paid to the top 10, with $4,180 to the winner.

The Yukon Quest 100 purse has increased by $3,000 to a new minimum guaranteed purse of $5,500 paid to the top five, with the winner taking home $1,485.

Yukon Quest Operations Manager John Hopkins-Hill explained why the increase came about.

“As we’ve been saying publicly since the purse was first announced, we wanted to come out with a strong figure at the beginning that we could guarantee and that we knew would be there for mushers. And now we’re at a point our fundraising efforts are going well, the community’s been very supportive. And things are proceeding in a way that we’re in a position now where we’re able to put more in the pot for the mushers. This was always certainly something that we were hoping to be able to do … it’s something that we think mushers will appreciate.”

Hopkins-Hill confirmed an increase in sponsorship enabled the Quest to bump up the race purses.

“As the race gets a little bit closer, more and more businesses and donors and sponsors are able to sort of have a better sense of exactly what they can and cannot contribute in a given year.

“So as things become more set in stone, and we start writing over the pencil with pen, so to speak, then we feel like we have the sort of information we need to make an announcement like this because, again, as I said since the beginning, it’s been really our goal to be very reliable, and (have a) safe and dog care focused race and part of that is starting with a purse that’s maybe a little smaller than people expected, but then being able to increase that and to do that in a way that is a guarantee and is something reliable because that’s really a focus. This is a race that is safe, and has excellent dog care, and is organized by a bunch of people who are very, very, very diligent when it comes to making sure that all our volunteers, sponsors, donors, mushers, you name it, is taken care of and given the best possible experience.”

In comparison, the Yukon Quest 2020, which was the traditional combined 1,000-mile race between Alaska and the Yukon, had a $100,000 guaranteed minimum purse.

In 2022, the YQ 300 Yukon had a purse of $35,000 and the YQ 100 Yukon had a purse of $5,000. Yukon and Alaska ran separate races in 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re certainly into apples and oranges territory with trying to compare to past years’ sort of set up with us only running the dogs and that’s a new look,” said Hopkins-Hill.

“I think this purse is pretty on par with what local races we’ve been able to do in the last couple of years, certainly since COVID.”

As usual, there are plenty of other activities surrounding the Canadian Yukon Quest this year.

“The big thing around here right now is our online auction’s going to be starting next week,” related Hopkins-Hill. “So that’s one of our major fundraisers and you know, we’re hoping to put the word out about that for sure. Of course, we’ve got all kinds of stuff ranging from cookware and tools and gift certificates … and basically everything in between. If folks are looking for something for that person that’s impossible to buy something for, like we’ve got such an eclectic mix of things, and some really, really cool, really unique items.”

The online auction starts on Nov. 22. Links to the auction will be available on the Yukon Quest website and social media channels.

“So I think that’s going to be big and then our next sort of local event in-person thing is Saturday, Dec. 3, we’re having our pet photos with Santa “ said Hopkins-Hill. “We do those by donation, so we encourage people to come down with their pets. If you’ve got kids, bring your kids too.”

People will be able to get their pet photos taken from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Yukon Quest office at 1109 Front Street in Whitehorse.

Hopkins-Hill said there’s nothing new to report on the situation with Yukon Quest Alaska running their own separate races, which are scheduled for Feb. 4.

The Yukon Quest 450 starts at Shipyards Park in Whitehorse on Feb. 11, followed immediately by the start of the Yukon Quest 250 and Yukon Quest 100.

Hopkins-Hill added “We’re picking up steam here like, we’ve gotten to the top of the mountain and we’re just really gearing up and getting ready for the race and busy around here and the excitement’s starting to build.”

Comments (1)

Up 1 Down 0

Volker J Hruby on Nov 25, 2022 at 12:18 am

It would be nice to have the Yukon Quest be a 1000 mile race again, like it used to be from Canada to Alaska, I believe the ending in Alaska was in Fairbanks.

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