Sled Dogs Dash Across Yukon Quest Finish Line

Fairbanksians gathered downtown at the Yukon Quest finish line and cheered musher, Matt Hall, as he crossed the finish line at 12:04 p.m. on Feb. 14 to become the 2017 Yukon Quest Champion.

Hall has run dogs all of his life and, at the age of 25, is one of the youngest-ever Quest winners. Hall’s final time for his winning 2017 run was clocked at 10 days, 1 hour and 7 minutes. He is designated as a veteran musher as he has run the Quest three previous times before in 2014 where he placed 3rd, 2015 where he scratched and 2016 where he placed 4th.

He was greeted at the finish line by his parents, Scarlett and Wayne Hall and his lead dog, Keeper, who he had to drop in Dawson City. Members from his kennel, Smokin’ Ace Sled Dog Kennel, were present and he received a surprise visit from championship dog musher, Lance Mackey.

Hall is a second-generation Quest Champion, his father Wayne Hall has run the Quest before and was presented the Challenge of the North Award in 2002, which is given by the race officials and is awarded to the musher who exemplifies the “Spirit of the Yukon Quest.” Sarah Manriquez/Photo Editor

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Photography students Jerzy Ellanna and Mary Webb warm up by a fire at the Circle, Alaska checkpoint, waiting for lead musher Matt Hall to arrive. Ellamarie Quimby/ Sun Star Photo credit: Ellamarie Quimby

 

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Yukon Quest Champion Matt Hall completed the last leg of the race in 12 hours and 26 minutes, bypassing his own kennel on the way into town. Ellamarie Quimby/ Sun Star Photo credit: Ellamarie Quimby

 

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Quest volunteers greet Matt Hall at the finish line, checking his sled for mandatory equipment before his win is made official. Ellamarie Quimby/ Sun Star Photo credit: Ellamarie Quimby

 

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Matt Hall poses with his lead dog Anchor, a 2-year-old dog who completed his first Yukon Quest this year. Anchor became Hall’s de-facto lead dog after Hall dropped his 9-year-old Quest veteran lead dog, Keeper, in Dawson City. Ellamarie Quimby/ Sun Star Photo credit: Ellamarie Quimby

 

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Smokin’ Ace handlers tucked roses into the collars of each of the ten dogs who brought Hall from Two Rivers into Fairbanks. Ellamarie Quimby/ Sun Star Photo credit: Ellamarie Quimby

 

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Crowds gathered around the Quest finish chute to await Matt Hall’s midday arrival. Hall’s kennel, Smokin’ Ace, began in 2008, although Hall has spent the better part of his life around dogs and mushing. Ellamarie Quimby/ Sun Star Photo credit: Ellamarie Quimby

 

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Nine-year-old, lead dog, Keeper, was dropped in Dawson City, but was in attendance to greet Matt Hall’s team in the finish cute. This Yukon Quest was Keeper’s last race. Ellamarie Quimby/ Sun Star Photo credit: Ellamarie Quimby

 

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Matt Hall cited the youth of his dog team for his win this year, having executed a masterful 16-hour run from Eagle to Slaven’s Roadhouse, bypassing the hospitality stop at Trout Creek that most mushers opt to rest at. Ellamarie Quimby/ Sun Star Photo credit: Ellamarie Quimby

 

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Matt Hall is originally from Eagle, Alaska but now lives and works in Two Rivers, Alaska. Many friends and family from all over Alaska showed up at the finish line to congratulate the young musher crossing the finish line. Ellamarie Quimby/ Sun Star Photo credit: Ellamarie Quimby

 

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Hall’s mother, Scarlett, has run the Yukon Quest checkpoint at Eagle for the last 20 years. Eagle is the only checkpoint on the Quest trail that is inaccessible by road. His father Wayne won the Yukon Quest in 2006. Ellamarie Quimby/ Sun Star Photo credit: Ellamarie Quimby

 

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25-year-old Matt Hall became the second-youngest musher to take the crown of Yukon Quest Champion as he rolled into Fairbanks at 12:04 p.m. on Feb.14, 2017. Hall, originally from Eagle, Alaska , is a second-generation Quest champion and finished with a time of 10 days, 1 hour and 7 minutes. Ellamarie Quimby/ Sun Star Photo credit: Ellamarie Quimby

 

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