Dan on stage after drawing bib # 15 from the boot held by race marshal Doug Grilliot.
Yes tonight was the start banquet and bib draw for the 2013 Yukon Quest. The evening included entertainment from local musicians during social hour. Presentations from Canadian and US Quest directors. A drawing for early incentive prizes, where the names of all the mushers who signed up on the first day were entered into a drawing for prizes donated by Quest sponsors Cold Spot Feeds (500 dog booties won by Lance Mackey) and Apocalypse Design (an arctic parka won by Rob Cooke). A wonderful buffet dinner followed by a very impressive array of desserts. And the highlight of the evening, all the mushers took thier turn on stage to draw their bib number for the race. As I already told you Dan drew #15, and here you can see a the complete starting order, with bib sponsor.
This is a fun social event, where once again I get to spend time catching up with friends. As I mentioned in my last blog post, despite the fact that we come together to compete, the friendships are real. In addition to my fellow mushers there are veterinarians, Quest officials, and volunteers who I look forward to seeing every February. Think of it as a family reunion based on a mutual obsession rather then shared DNA.
And once again I was out with camera in hand to capture some of what went on tonight and share it with y’all. For your viewing pleasure, my images from the 2013 Yukon Quest start banquet. (click images to see full size)
Proud to be sporting I WILL bracelets with Emily Schwing.
A number of mushers and others are showing support for a Massachusetts man, husband, and father who is dealing with Cancer by wearing handmade ‘I WILL’ bracelets. Emily Schwing recently did a nice report on our local public radio about I WILL: listen here
And you can order your own I WILL bracelet online, it is a featured product at Mahoney’s Building Supply.
Quest Champion Hans Gatt will be joining me in the role of handler this year. He will be handling for his partner Susie Rogan on her rookie run.
Welsey Shaefer (shown at left) will be helping handle for Lance this year and blogging from the trail, you can follow him at Comeback Chronicles.
A very gracious Lance Mackey always has time to talk to fans.
Jake Berkowitz, and his beautiful wife Robin.
The SP Kennel Dog Log is another blog worth checking out, as they do a great job of following the races and sharing information with fans. Allen and Aliy are always wonderful competitors, great sports, and share our ‘dogs first’ philosophy.
Visiting with Allen Moore and Aliy Zirkle of SP Kennel.
Gorgina Leslie (left) who organized the starter program, and US executive director Marti Steury (right).
The dessert table, because who doesn’t love dessert.
Hugh Neff (left) with Dave Dalton (right).
Race manager Alex Olsen, Son of Leo Olson, long time Yukon Quest race manager. It is the job of race manager to handle logistics and makes sure the race runs smoothly; no small task!
The banquet was sold out, and the place was packed.
Race vet, and good friend, John Overell and I share a laugh over the reassuring message on his t-shirt.
US Assistant Director Maria “Frog” Roberts (left) and Marie-Sylvestre Belanger (right) Canadian Executive Director, looking absolutely fabulous!
Dawson Dolly with Allen & Aliy, you can not help but smile when Dolly is around.
Of course I had to have my picture taken with Dawson Dolly too! We met a few years back, and I always look forward to seeing her at races.
This guy may be the ultimate fan / volunteer, with pins and patches from years of races. (the back was just as full as the front)
Brian Wilmshurst flashes some leg with Jjay Levy, YQ 300 musher. (side note: I have seen Brian in full arctic outer wear, and shorts, but never pants)
Whitehorse Can-Can dancers put on a show for the crowd.
Hugh Neff and Ed Abrahamson watching the Can-Can dancers.
Rob Cooke won the Apocalypse parka in the first day sign up drawing.
Brent Sass with race vet Katherine Van Duine.
Fairbanks musher, and dear friend, Abbie West thanking her sponsors after drawing her bib number.
Allen Moore on stage at the banquet.
Kelley Griffen, fellow distance diva, and the first women to run the Yukon Quest & Iditarod back to back, on stage talking to the crowd after drawing her bib number.
Race Marshal Doug Grilliot held the very festively decorated boot from which mushers drew their bib numbers. Once the race starts Doug has the responsibility of head judge and top official for the race.