Today was the first day for mushers to submit applications to compete in the 2009 Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race and the first-day sign up list reads like a "Who's Who" of long-distance racing.
It goes without saying that Lance Mackey will return, seeking a fifth straight win and probably with hopes and dreams of a third straight Quest/Iditarod combined victory. My Two Rivers neighbor Sonny Lindner will be returning to the Quest. He won the inaugural race in 1982 but hasn't run since 1992.
Wayne Hall, who originally whelped my dog Gump, has signed up, as has Jessica Hendricks and Brent Sass.
Iditarod musher Martin Buser is going to the give the Quest a shot, as is John Little.
All told, 20 people signed up on the very first day, and it's a sure bet that more will signing their names on the bottom line between now and February. It's a sure thing that the 2009 "World's Toughest Sled Dog Race" is going to be highly competitive and well worth following.
The complete list of first-day sign ups is posted in today's on-line issue of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.