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Yukon Quest

It’s Yukon Quest time in Circle. The Yukon Quest International Dog Sled Race between Whitehorse, Yukon Territory and Fairbanks, Alaska is an annual event that draws participants and fans from around the world. The Iditarod is the more famous Alaskan dog sled race, but many here are of the opinion that the Quest is by far the tougher, harder, more brutal race with less glory, less attention, and less money for the winners. One of the ten official checkpoints along the 1,000 mile trail is our own Circle City, where dog teams consisting of up to fourteen dogs and one musher arrive to check in, pick up more food and supplies and head out again. Each checkpoint is the focus of attention for all those who follow the race, until the mushers and through. Then the show packs up again and hits the road to meet the dog teams at the next checkpoint.

When the Quest is in town, the population doubles and Circle becomes a hive of activity and media attention before the mushers rush out again and the press, handlers and volunteers follow them on to the next checkpoint. Since there isn’t much in Circle in the way of hotels, restaurants or facilities of any kind, the school opens its door to all visitors, 24 hours a day. It’s a great opportunity for the school to be involved with the Quest and the general goings on in the community. We also cook breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as sell snacks and pizzas. It’s a pretty much an around the clock event for us. Today we got everything ready for company, and made about ten pizzas for the volunteers working the checkpoint. The race leader is expected to arrive in Circle sometime during the night tonight, and he will probably remain in Circle for six hours or so before heading out again. The rest of the pack will be through shortly thereafter, so it’s looking like tomorrow will be rockin’ and will continue to hum through Thursday or so. It’s gonna be a long few days, but it should be fun. All of the money we earn during the Quest will go into the school’s student activity fund for travel on school trips and other activities.

The volunteer checkpoint workers all seem to be great people. It’s funny though, they all look like the quintessential Alaska types: long bearded, wild eyed, unwashed, gregarious types in well seasoned winter clothing. I gotta take some portraits before they all go. They are great people, and I am continually surprised by the general warmth and kindness of people in Alaska.

Prepared bags of dog food and other gear wait for mushers to enter the Circle checkpoint.  

Posted on Saturday, February 17, 2007 at 11:28PM by Registered CommenterBrian Rozell | Comments3 Comments

Reader Comments (3)

I have spent some time reading your blog and I think it is excellant writting. When reading I sometimes felt I was invadeing your space due to the fact you don't know me, but none the less your blog is great. Thanks so much for shareing and keeping it open for all to read because it has been very informative reading about life in Alaskas interior or atleast it has been for me and my wife. Take care and have a good day.
February 18, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterLandon
Thanks for posting this...It makes me feel a little better about the last blog ;) Anyway, I can't wait to hear how it goes and see some pictures! That would be so much fun to be there during that. Have a great time!
February 18, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMel
Oh boy another link to check up regularly. Yall sure live such a fun life ... Just when I think there is nothing to do in Circle, here comes a bucnh of mushers, dogs and news crew. Enjoy and looking forward for your pictures describing this event! I expect a lot of good and memorable ones! Don't forget to put Jakey and Tobey in the picture background so a lurking future talent scout might just see them.
February 19, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterdad

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