FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Twenty-one-year-old Buddy Streeper has won the 58th annual Open North American Championship Sled Dog Race.
Buddy Streeper stood on the sled with arms raised in victory as his team crossed the Chena River finish line to upset four-time defending champion Egil Ellis in Alaska's oldest dog race.
Streeper was 47 seconds faster than Ellis on Sunday, giving him a 40-second win. Unlike other years when the champagne was waiting but the cork remained in the bottle, Buddy Streeper's father, Terry, finally had cause to celebrate.
''I led this thing twice going into the third day,'' Terry Streeper said, leaning against the hood of the family dog truck.
Twice, the race was his to win and both times he wound up a disappointing second.
In 1992, he was leading Roxy Wright-Champaine by 1 1/2 minutes heading into the final leg but wound up losing by almost two minutes when he stopped to load two dogs in the last two miles of the race while Wright-Champaine rolled to victory.
In 1996, Terry Streeper had a 20-second lead heading into the third heat only to watch his sister-in-law, Amy Streeper, charge to her second straight win.
Terry Streeper said a few days before the race he and Buddy were at a Chinese restaurant and got an omen.
''They had fortune cookies and mine said, 'You'll get the respect that's due to you,''' he said.
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