This is really HOT off the press. Just a few minutes ago Hugh Neff literally edged out Allen Moore to win the 2012 Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race. Official times haven't yet been posted, but people reporting from the scene there was less than 100 feet between the two mushers as they came into the finish chute. It looks like Lance Mackey is on track for a third place finish, but is still at least a couple of ours out of Whitehorse, YT and the finish line.
Hugh first ran the Yukon Quest in 2000, starting with only 10 dogs and with very little support, yet persevered to finish in 13th place. In that race he earned the coveted "Spirit of the North" award, but also the nickname "Huge Mess." Only 12 years later he has established one of the most competitive long-distance kennels in the Northland, has competed very well in both the Quest and the Iditarod, and now has finally vindicated himself by winning the Toughest Sled Dog Race on Earth.
Meanwhile, Allen has run a nearly flawless race this year, has achieved his goal of improving over last year's performance, and proven himself as more than just a middle-distance guru. Although I was hoping that my friends Allen and Aliy would become the first husband and wife to win the Quest (Aliy won the 2002 Quest), I suspect this won't be the last time that Allen steers an SP Kennel team over the Yukon Quest trail. There is something about the race that seems to get into musher's blood.