Yukon Quest field reported at 34 teams

Posted: Wednesday, January 03, 2001

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- It appears 34 mushers will be lined up when the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race starts Feb. 11 at Whitehorse.

Thirty-three entries had been received as of Tuesday, and Quest officials said another was in the mail. The entry deadline was Sunday.

Four mushers withdrew from the race as the deadline approached and two others -- Iditarod veterans Tim Osmar and Joran Freeman -- officially entered the race.

The mail entry was said to be from a Kenai musher.

Mushers who withdrew in the final few days of December were Sarah Nelius and George Carroll of Fairbanks, Steve Crone of Maine and Jeninne Cathers of Whitehorse, Yukon Territory.

Osmar, who has several Iditarod Top 10 finishes to his credit, ran the Quest in 1986 and finished in third place. Freeman completed the Iditarod last year and will be running the 1,000-mile Quest for the first time.

Osmar and Freeman also are entered in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race from Anchorage to Nome, according to the Iditarod Web site, which last was updated Dec. 20.

The Quest is offering a $125,000 purse this year, to be split among the top 15 finishers. The winner takes home a $30,000 paycheck.

Three former champions are entered: Two-time winner John Schandelmeier of Paxson, 1995 champion Frank Turner of Whitehorse and Sonny Lindner of Fairbanks, who won the inaugural Quest in 1984.

It's expected that the leaders will take about 11 days to run the Quest from Whitehorse to the finish line on the frozen Chena River in downtown Fairbanks.

Ten rookies and 23 veterans are in the field. Rookie Sylvia Furtwaengler of Germany is the lone European entry. Jim Oehlschlaeger of Cincinnati and Bill Pinkham of Glenwood Springs, Colo., are the only mushers entered from the Lower 48.

The rest of the field is made up of five mushers from the Yukon Territory and 25 Alaskans.



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