Dave and the Gang will start the 2014 Yukon Quest on 2nd street in downtown Fairbanks instead of on the river. Due to unseasonably warm temperatures, open water on the Chena River forced race officials to make other plans.
Yesterday, Dave met a bunch of fans at the Meet the Mushers event held every year.
This years Handling crew is led by Dave’s handler and Healy resident, Jennifer LaBar. In her own words
“I am a Tennessee native who came to Alaska in 2007 to work for the summer. I fell head over heels for the state and the Healy/Denali area specifically and have been a full time resident since 2010. I love being outdoors during any season and I have been fortunate enough to take several very cool trips in remote places throughout Alaska, including standing on the summit of Mt. McKinley! I dream of having my own dog team some day and hopefully doing the Yukon Quest myself! Right now, I enjoy helping other mushers and getting my doggy fix that way. I am very excited about this new adventure and regardless of the outcome (which I know will be great) I’m sure I will gain valuable experiences and enjoy any challenge that presents itself along the way.”
Jennifer will be accompanied by her father-in-law, Arthur LaBar. Andrew saved the day by volunteering to come up to Alaska to help Jennifer after her original back-up had to tend to a family emergency.
I am a Wisconsin native who grew up seeing -45º and the rare aurora display. But the Yukon Quest is going to be a new world for me. I am excited by the opportunity to work with Jennifer, Dave’s Handler (and also my daughter-in-law), and for a Quest veteran like Dave Dalton.
My wife, Sherry, and I have lived in Cookeville, Tennessee, since 1979. We have two married adult children and four grandchildren. I was a professional musician and teacher until I retired from Tennessee Tech University in 2012.