Junior North American
IFSS Junior World Championships
February 23-25, 2001
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Sally Bair's, IFSS Secretary General, complete press release on Final Results:
IFSS JUNIOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP -- DAY 3
FEBRUARY 25, 2001
FAIRBANKS, ALASKA -- The third and final day of the IFSS Junior World Championship saw more flip-flopping of positions as mushers peddled their best to pick up valuable seconds. When all was said and done, Laurn Debuse of Salcha, Alaska, captured the top honor in the 1 Dog class with a total three day time of 1:15.237, only a split second ahead of 2nd place finisher Forrest Sylvester of Fairbanks. Megan Tuttle of Fairbanks claimed 1st in the 2 Dog class with a winning total time of 10:11.569, 29 seconds ahead of McKenna Ford. In the 3 Dog class Sean Sylvester of Fairbanks flipped places with Curt Kokrine to cop 1st place with a time for the three days of 39:43.722, only a second ahead of Kokrine.
In the 4 Dog class, Jason Baxter of Inuvik, NWT Canada, managed to repel a strong challenge from Frank Attla, who had the fastest time for days 1 and 3. Baxter had a total time of 37:37.976,nearly 30 seconds ahead of Attla. Al Palma of Alaska relinquished his top position in the 6 Dog class after Saturday, jockeying with Carey Erhart again, who took home the 1st place medal with a total time of 47:08.715, only seven seconds ahead of Palma. 8 Dog class competitor Kelly Wright of Chugiak hung on to his 1st place with a total time of 1:39:24.849, nearly four minutes of Sigurd Erdal-Aase of Norway.
Kelly Wright, winner in the 8 Dog class, commented that he had really good runs all three days. The sixteen-year-old had a bit of trouble one-day, but it was not significant. On Sunday two moose jumped across the trail in front of him. Several of the 8 Dog mushers also reported moose on the trail. Luckily, none of the moose interfered with the teams, and they had disappeared by the time subsequent classes took to the trail. Wright said that what he liked best about the race was the sportsmanship shown by all the clean passes. Kelly has been mushing for 3 1/2 years under the coaching of Rex Jones. His dogs in the 8 Dog class come from Egil Ellis (Sweden) and Norway.
Two-Dog class victor Megan Tuttle is seven years old and in the first grade. Her leaders were Lucy and Jasper. She has been mushing since she was two years old and felt good about winning being especially pleased that her dogs went so fast. Megan would like to go on into bigger classes (more dogs) eventually.
In the 1 Dog class, five-year-old Laurn Debuse has been around animals all her life. She ran Dillon, who really likes to run. She had previously told her father that maybe she really didnąt want to win after all since she would have to go up in front of everybody to accept the trophy. The upshot was that she did go up in front of the people at the banquet to accept her trophy and did so with poise and dignity.
Twelve-year -Jason Baxter, winner in the 4 Dog class, had good runs on all three days. On Sunday, he ran into a bit of down time because his wheeler got a leg over the neckline. He has been mushing for eight years and has a small kennel of about fourteen dogs. His leaders were Raggy and Anne. He most enjoyed the challenge of the competition and the superb set up of trails. George Attla and Grant Beck are his favorite mushers. But it was Tim White who nicknamed him the "Delta Rocket" after seeing him smoke out the other teams in the Yellowknife, NWT Canada, race a few years ago. Jason was sponsored by Dowland Contractors -- Inuvik/Anchorage.
In the 3 Dog class, nine-year-old Sean Sylvester clocked in the winning total time. A fourth grader, Sylvester had good, clean runs all three days. On the first day, however, he thought maybe his dogs werenąt as fast because it was warmer out. His leaders were Gringo and Mo. Sean is a member of the Fairbanks Junior Dog Mushersą Association.
Carey Erhart of Fairbanks, who is sixteen years old, said it really felt good to win the 6 Dog top honor. Her parents do a lot of training of the dogs, but she also does her share of training and dog chores. Her leaders were Limo and Conan. A participant in the sport for the past thirteen years, she attributes her performance in this race to her good leader, Conan. Her dream is to run the Anchorage Fur Rendezvous, where she can picture herself going up Cordova Hill. The most valuable piece of advice she has received is "Donąt look behind you."
The juniors, parents, and guests joined together Sunday evening at the Riverąs Edge Restaurant in Fairbanks for the banquet and award ceremonies. In accepting their awards, the young mushers extended their appreciation to the sponsors, their parents, most of all, the dogs. Each also received a trophy to commemorate the event, a piece of equipment (collar, harness, etc.), and their bib. They then made the rounds of the icons of mushing who were present to get their autographs on the bib. George Attla and Gareth Wright each had quite a line of kids waiting their turn for their signature.
IFSS extends its sincere thanks and appreciation to the Fairbanks Junior Mushers Association for their hard work in making this race a success.
Browse to http://www.fjdma.org/results/2001jnac.html to see the statistics on the three days of racing. Pictures will be forthcoming.