Story & Photo
by Dan Davidson
It was minus 24, with the sun just creeping over the hill and a loader just spreading the last of the fresh snow on King Street when the crowd began to gather for the start of the Percy DeWolfe Memorial Mail Race. The dog trucks were already unloading their canine crews and the sleds were getting ready.
Bib #2, Michelle Phillips, brought her team up to the line beside the Palace Grand and accepted the memorial mail sack from Postmaster Amanda Freeman and Constable Louis Allain.
At 10 a.m. Gaby Sgaga announced that the spirit of the Iron Man was on his way and Phillips’ team headed out three minutes later.
The remaining 13 teams headed out over the next half hour. Included were Nicholas Mears (Pierceland, Sask.), Gerry Willomitzer (Whitehorse). Marie Royer (Tagish), Christian Eiterer (Whitehorse), Simi Morrison (Carcross), Crispin Studer (Carcross), Dyan Bergen (Yellowknife), Brian Wilmshurst (Dawson), Ed Hopkins (Tagish), Gerry Walker (Pierceland), Jorge Perez, John King (Whitehorse) and Hans Gatt (Whitehorse).
The ice bridge was crowded near the starting line for the Percy Junior Race at noon that same day, with 10 teams lined up for the mass start, race marshall Brent MacDonald having informed them all that this year there’d actually better be a mass start when the flag dropped or else. MacDonald needn’t have worried. The teams were off quickly and there was even a bit of jostling for position right at the beginning.
There were no skijor entries this year.
Junior Percy mushers were Jason Biasetti (Dawson), Nathaniel Hamlyn (Yellowknife), Jacob Heigers (Whitehorse), Marcel Marin (Yellowknife), Nora Vom Endt, Anne-Sophie Strauss, Maren Bradley (Whitehorse), Jonathan Lucas (Whitehorse), Dany Jette (Dawson).
The trail was reportedly smooth as far as Fortymile, but the trail makers had trouble remaking the trail after the nighttime blizzard early in the week, so the second half was rough, and rougher still near Eagle, where the river froze in the jumble this year.
Main Race winners were Crispin Studer, Michelle Phillips and Hans (I can’t belive I forgot my bib!) Gatt.
Junior Percy winners were Maren Bradley, Jonathan Lucas and Marcel Marin.
We’ll have a full report and photos from the banquet in our next issue.