Friday at the ANC

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March 9th 2017
Published: March 10th 2017
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Beautiful Alaska sunset.
Today was a tough day. We got lots of conflicting information from the trail. We had teams checking in at Galena (checkpoint 5) and there was no record of them checking out of Ruby (checkpoint 4). However, we found out that the volunteer at Ruby was working on his own for many hours and couldn't keep up with mushers arriving, mushers leaving, and the dog count. It's really important to keep track of the dog count. At each checkpoint the dogs are checked by a veterinarian. Dogs are dropped all the time so don't let this alarm you. It can be for simple or serious things. We had discrepancies with the number of dogs leaving one checkpoint and arriving at another. BUT it's our job to figure this all out.

I was working with Rex, a guy from Utah. We had worked together on Tuesday and we work together really well. It got crazy for awhile with teams checking in & out of Ruby, and in and out of Galena. We got it done and everything was entered on the computer.

I've been doing the "black ice walk", kinda of waddle to distribute the weight over my feet and

Beautiful Alaska sunset.
not fall. Well, I fell today but didn't get hurt. A woman (volunteer) from Utah fell, fractured her lower arm, and needs surgery tomorrow. She won't be a dog handler anymore!

Sunset today was beautiful. I looked at the dropped dogs held behind the hotel until someone picks them up. There were only 2 and handlers were on their way.

Here's more musher profiles. Jessie is currently in 2nd place, and Michelle is in 3rd. They have both taken their mandatory 8 hour rest, and the guy in first, Mitch Seavey, has not. Could there be a female winner this year?

Jessie Royer

Bib Number: 37
Hometown: Fairbanks, Alaska

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Jessie Royer, 40, was born in Idaho. She grew up on a cattle ranch in Montana where she lived for 21 years. She worked on ranches as a horse wrangler and horse teamster. She says she got her first sled dogs when she was 15. She started learning about dogs from Doug Swingley whom she worked with for a couple of years. She had dogs in Montana seven years before moving to Alaska in the spring

Beautiful Alaska sunset.
on 1998. In December of 2011 she went back to the ranch in Montana to work. She says, “I still have my place in Fairbanks and go back and forth as much as I can.” Jessie has extensive mushing experience including having won Montana’s Race to the Sky when she was only 17 and she was the winner of the invitational La Grande Odyssée in France in 2005. She says her hobbies are horses, hunting, mounted shooting and photography.

Michelle Phillips

Bib Number: 9
Hometown: Tagish, YT, CANADA

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Michelle Phillips, 47, was born and raised in Whitehorse, YT. “After traveling the world for 10 years, I decided to settle down in a small cabin in the Yukon Bush. After living for a few years in the Southern Lakes region of the Yukon, I met my partner, Ed Hopkins. Ed introduced the sport of dog mushing to me and I immediately fell in love with the sport. Growing up in a very athletic family and training for many years as a figure skater, I enjoyed challenging myself and working with such an elite and talented group of athletes.

Dropped dog getting some love.
After running my first Yukon Quest, I was hooked on long distance mushing and I’ve been doing it since. I love traveling with my team of dogs and spending time with my best friends.” She and Ed own and operate Tagish Lake Kennel. Michelle has run six Yukon Quest races (best finish 4th and Vet’s Choice award in 2009.) For the past 17 years, when not racing professionally, Ed and Michelle, with their son Keegan, 15, (and up to 90 Alaskan huskies) have provided visitors with sled dog adventures of 30 minutes to seven days throughout the year.


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