A head lamp cuts through darkness, followed by church bells, and who’s about to win the 1,000-mile Yukon Quest?

A head lamp cuts through darkness, followed by church bells, and who’s about to win the 1,000-mile Yukon Quest?
April 14, 2015 Eric Bennett

“The whole way coming in here I was just going through all the people and all the influences and all the support I’ve had to get to this point right here and it’s overwhelming.”

On Feb. 16 at 10:52 p.m., Brent “Wild and Free” Sass ended his journey from Whitehorse, Yukon in Fairbanks, Alaska. He traveled nearly 1,000 miles to become the 2015 Yukon Quest champion. Riding on sled while his dog team pulled the whole way, Sass completed the race on the Chena River in downtown Fairbanks in nine days, 12 hours and 49 minutes, a mere two hour difference from second-place runner Allen Moore.

At the finish line, church bells rang in Sass’s arrival while fans filled the frozen river and surrounding ledges to cheer him on his victory. Over 100 people were there to see the victor of the race. It was known for a while that Sass would finish first due to GPS trackers on each participant’s sleds, which was a new addition this year. People could be seen checking their phones for the latest update on Sass’s location and an approximate count down to when he would be arriving on the scene from the official Yukon Quest website.

After stopping at the finish line, each of Sass’s dogs got raw meat as a final reward for helping him along on the long journey.

“It’s just the accumulation of all the help I’ve had to get here,” he said at the finish line. “This is for everybody, everybody who’s helped me throughout the years. This is for all of us. This is an amazing moment.”

Soon after his victory at the Yukon Quest, Sass went on to enter the Iditarod. However, he was disqualified for carrying an iPod Touch, which was considered an illegal communication device.

Eric Bennett
Eric Bennett has lived in Alaska all his life and is a senior journalism student with a particular interest in copy editing. He loves reading about the yakuza in the news and generally all spooky things, true or not.

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