Brent Sass hands out steak to his dog team at the finish line after winning the 2019 Yukon Quest on Feb. 11 in Fairbanks, Alaska. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News)

Alaskan musher wins Yukon Quest with full team of dogs

Sass arrived at the finish in Fairbanks just before 1 p.m. local time

Brent Sass is the 2019 Yukon Quest winner after reaching the finish line in Fairbanks, Alaska, just before 1 p.m. local time on Monday, with a full team of 14 dogs.

Leading him into the finish line were Sluice and Morello. Eleven of his 14 dogs were rookies, while the other three were part of his 2015 winning team.

READ MORE: Yukon Quest field spreads out across the Alaskan border

“They’re definitely not rookies anymore,” said Sass. “I can’t wait until next year. They’re really going to have the knowledge and the know-how. They never hesitated a bit … they just kept getting faster.”

This is Sass’s 12th year running the race.

“I think I really tried to just ignore my competitors and not really care about anybody,” said Sass.

“I jumped off the ice on Birch Creek there and had a really solid run. I figured it was cold out, and there was very little chance of anybody blowing through Central, so I gambled. It just puts a few more miles on you before you go over Eagle Summit, which is always a test.”

He said this race was extra special because of his dog Jeep, who was a sprint dog for one of his good friends – Joee Redington – before Redington died.

“Joee always said when we were chatting and hanging out, that this dog right here could run a distance race,” said Sass. “After Joee passed away, I bought Jeep … and said, ‘You’re going to be a distance dog.’

“I trained him for two seasons and he was phenomenal. I mean, he led over 500 miles of the race. … I know Joee’s spirit was out there with me the whole way smiling down on us.”

Sass was the third musher to start the race, leaving the start line in Whitehorse at 11:06 a.m. on Feb. 2 with nine dogs.

When mushers arrived in Dawson City for the 36-hour layover, it was Sass leading the way. He reached the checkpoint at 11:24 a.m. on Feb. 5 with a 30-minute lead on rival Michelle Phillips.

As the first musher to reach Dawson and finish the race, Sass wins the Dawson Award — two ounces of Klondike placer gold. Sass has previously won the award in 2015 and 2016.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Edward Milne students clean up Whiffen Spit

Volunteers find styrofoam, cigarette butts and a single shoe

UPDATED: Young deckhands backed out of fatal Arctic Fox II trip just before fishboat departed

Inexperienced twin brothers had ‘gut feeling’ and bailed before going to open ocean

Police investigating alleged assault on Oak Bay Avenue

Staff at Oak Bay Home Hardware say one person was taken to hospital

Oak Bay neighbourhoods rocked by blasting activity

Oak Bay seeks new rock blasting bylaw regarding ‘continuous’ noise

Greater Victoria hardly making a dent in greenhouse gas emissions target

One-per-cent drop from 2007 to 2018 a far cry from the 33-per-cent goal for 2020

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

Horvat scores 2 as Vancouver Canucks beat Blues 5-2 in NHL playoff opener

Game 2 in best-of-seven series goes Friday night

Old-growth forest defenders in Campbell River call for B.C. forest minister’s resignation

Protestors outside North Island MLA’s office ask government to stop old-growth logging

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

High-volume littering at Cape Scott draws ire from hiking groups

Popular Vancouver Island hiking spot not closing, but frustration about crowding grows

SFU to drop ‘Clan’ varsity team name

The ‘Clan’ name is shortened from ‘Clansmen,’ and was introduced roughly 55 years ago

New Tory leader must build a strong team in Commons and for the campaign: Scheer

Scheer marked his final day in the House of Commons today as leader of the Opposition

B.C. to hire 500 more COVID-19 contact tracers ahead of fall

Contract tracers add an ‘extra layer’ in the fight against the novel coronavirus

Feds commit $305M in additional funds for Indigenous communities during COVID-19

Money can be used to battle food insecurity and support children and mental health

Most Read