Under blue skies and a bright Yukon sun, the 2007 mushers hit the Yukon Quest Trail. Led by 2006 Rookie of the Year, Richie Beattie all 28 teams left the starting chute with excited dogs and smiles on their faces. Number 20 bib, rookie J.T. Hessert, missed his starting time. The Yukon Quest Rules state that any musher not at the start line at their launch time, may still start the race, but must wait until the last musher leaves. J.T. left after John Schandelmeier (Bib #28) however, his official time started at the original, assigned departure time. That delay will cost him 27 minutes.Aside from the 4 past Yukon Quest champions in the race, two other past champions were at the start. 1987 Champion Bill Cotter led Yuka Honda’s team to the start. Yuka is running a team from Bill’s kennel and he will be her handler on the trail this year. Yuka is looking forward to having his expertise on the trail. 1990 Champion Vern Halter planned his travels so that he could be in Whitehorse for the start of the race. He helped Frank Turner and Russ Bybee lead their teams to the start line.The mushers are on their way to the first check point at Braeburn where they will have a 2 hour mandatory layover and a complete veterinary exam. Many race fans are expected to follow the mushers to the first checkpoint. Aside from a front row seat of the action, they will be treated to the world-famous, big-as-your-face, cinnamon rolls at Braeburn Lodge.
Lost Sports of the Winter Olympics: The fast and furry world of sled dog racing