Allen and the Black Team will wear bib #4 down the trail during the Yukon Quest and will leave the starting chute at 11.06am on Saturday morning.

Last night was the Starting Banquet and Bib Draw at the Westmark Hotel in downtown Fairbanks and it was a sell out! It’s so exciting to see so many people supporting the race!

The program included fabulous music by Ukulele Russ before the Alaska Native Veterans Association presented the Colors. Dave Wilcoxson sang powerful Canadian and US anthems followed by the Chaplain of the Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, Steve Reed, who gave the invocation. Both mayors of the Fairbanks North Star Borough and City of Fairbanks officially welcomed everyone then we had dinner. You might wonder how with such a big crowd gets in line for a buffet dinner? The organisers had split the tables into Yukon Quest checkpoints and let us all go in 10 minute intervals so it was well organised.

Marty Steury, the Executive Director for the “Alaska side”, told us that last year’s final leg battle between Allen and Brent crashed the Trackleaders (spot trackers) website and we were the first sporting event to do so. Track leaders covers events all around the world and that battle created hundred of thousands of hits during the day. Marty also thanked the very many sponsors of the race (below).

After dinner we were introduced to all the Veterinarians and Vet Techs from USA, Canada, Spain and Australia and race officials for the YQ300 and 1000 mile races.

Head Veterinarian Dr Cristine “Nina” Hansen introduces her vet team; Doug Grilliot, Race Marshall, introduces his team of officials

Each musher then came up, in order of sign-up, to draw their bib number out of a “bunny boot” and say their thank yous.

Allen was very happy to draw bib #4 and he spoke about how this year will be a little different in that it is a rebuilding period for us. Nearly half his team will be Yukon Quest 1000 rookies (as well as half his handler team!) This will be Allen’s sixth Yukon Quest and there is one dog that will have been on all six with him – Scout! He’s excited to see what this year will bring.

He also told a story from last night’s “Meet the Mushers” how he had Yuka Honda on one side of him and Tore Albrigtsen from Norway on the other and he, with his southern accent, trying to speak to them both in English. He said much fun was had by all!

Allen thanked the crew at the kennel: Chris, Mark, Wes, Wendy and Moira and all the other people who make it possible to run the race. He thanked his family especially his Mom who came up from Arkansas this week to see him. Also our major corporate sponsors… and his beautiful wife.

Dog tags the Black Team will wear as identification; Bib Draw #4!

Also also thanked all the dog sponsors and every one of you – our internet followers and supporters. Thank You!!

14 Responses

  • Great night at the banquet. Way to go SP Kennel doggies and two legged team members. you all ROCK! Lets get'er Done!.

  • Im so excited about this race getting some big time attention! I am a little late to the dance but this is my 3rd YQ Race following and Im getting caught up on the history by reading all that is available on the Race!! Lets get this race started with Scout leading the way!!

  • Great bib draw Allen. Awesome that Scout will be with myou for the 6th time. He will surely lead the rookies on your team on proper race etiquette. Go SPK. With you all the way to Whitehorse!

  • Ditto on Marilyn's post. Allen and Scout have proven to be a winning team and I know they will be this time too. Go SPK.
    Ann and Tom Shillington

  • Sure wish I could have been there! Good Number!
    Go–o–o SP Dogs and Allen! My refresh finger is ready!

  • Just perfect, not too early or too late! Can't wait for the teams to get off tomorrow. Wish with all my heart that I was there! Go, go, go SPK!! Scout, you ole vet, you gotta show the others how it is done but I know you can do it!! A safe, fast and outstanding run to you!

  • we're with you through young and old, thick and thin, fast and slow, wherever you are. I am starting to be really fond of Scout when I watch this dog in the videos I think – determined. Good luck Allen and all SPK winners.

  • Getting exciting!
    We're all ready to crash those trackers again, so I hope they boosted the capacity.

    Go Allen, go Black Team PUPS, go Scout, keep 'em in line, LOL.

  • GO SP KENNEL!!! GO ALLEN!!! I am excited and watching and waiting and …..well, everything. I hope you can feel the positive energy we all are pouring out to you. We are backing you, no matter what. You and Aliy both. And all of the precious 4-leggeds. You are incredible. You are strong. And you are the ones we cherish. DON'T FORGET THAT. No matter where you finish in this race, you are champions.

  • Great bib number. High enough that the trail won't have too many other teams over it, but yet the Black Team can get a boost by "chasing". The extra rest when the differential is figured in should come in handy too. Wishing Allen luck in narrowing down his pool of 16 to 14. I'll be cheering for the Black Team for the whole 1000 miles and hope he and the dogs have a great race. It will be exciting and a win would be fantastic, but I'm always proud to cheer for SPK. Have fun, be safe, race hard. Go Allen! Go Dogs!

  • Go Allen and Black Team. Beemer & Viper are "howling" for their brother Scout and the rest of the Black Team.

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