Brent Sass wins 2023 Yukon Quest Alaska 550

First victory this season
Published: Feb. 9, 2023 at 8:15 AM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Brent Sass and his kennel, Wild and Free Mushing was the first team to reach the finish line of the 2023 Yukon Quest Alaska 550. Sass reached the finish at 7:45 at The Pump House in Fairbanks.

“It’s over. It’s kind of a bummer. I had so much fun out there,” said Sass. “It was great. I’m super proud of the dog team. It was an epic trail, and the Quest did an awesome job of putting on a really awesome event.”

Sass spent four days, eight hours, and fifty eight minutes running the course. This years trail was subjected to a reroute just over three weeks before the start, February 4. Instead of running from Circle City to Eagle, Mushers turned around at Circle City, went to Two Rivers, Nenana, and ended back in Fairbanks.

“It was awesome,” Sass stated on the reroute. “The Nenana checkpoint is a bunch of dog mushers that live in Nenana. They had the ‘red carpet’ rolled out for us, and the trail on the river was just phenomenal. It was a quick reaction by the Quest to put on a solid 550 event.”

Now, the last race Sass will compete in this mushing season, is the 51st Iditarod. Sass won his first Iditarod in his seventh running of the last great race. Most of the training is complete. Now rest in recovery is crucial.

“I get a little sleep... maybe,” Brent chuckled. “I have to go home and pack my Iditarod food drops. They’re due on Saturday. Then it’s a lot of ‘R&R’ to be honest with you. We’re going to do a little bit of training, but for the most part, these guys are absolutely ready to go.”

Sass is competing in five races this season, and the Yukon Quest Alaska 550 was his first victory. Sass started the season with a pair of second place finishes in the Knik 200 and Copper Basin 300. The third race, the Kuskokwim 300, Sass ran a younger team finishing 14th.

“I’m super super excited about the Iditarod... the next thing,” Sass added. “We’re going to celebrate this one for a couple of days and then put our heads down and start going after the Iditarod for sure.”

The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race Ceremonial Start is March 4 in Anchorage. The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race Official Restart is March 5 from Willow.