A mere 35 seconds separated two Minnesota mushers finishing first and second in the annual Hudson Bay Quest that started in Gillam, MB on March 16th and finished Monday March 19th in Churchill, MB. Shawn McCarty from Ely, MN took first place and was followed in second by Troy Groenveld from Two Harbors, Minnesota. Third place was captured by Stefan DeMarie from Christopher Lake, Saskatchewan. The Red Lantern was secured by Jesse Terry from Sioux Lookout, Ontario. The total field was comprised of 16 mushers from the United States and Canada. Below is the official list of entrants. Click this photo link for some great pictures taken during the race.
Ernest Azure, Churchill MB
David Daley, Churchill MB
Stefaan DeMarie, Christopher Lake SK
Dan DiMuzio, Churchill MB
Blake Freking. Finland MN (USA)
Troy Groeneveld, Two Harbors MN (USA)
John Hickes, Rankin Inlet, NU
Barney Kalluak, Arviat NU
Marvin Lizotte. Lake Louise AB
Charlie Lundie, Churchill MB
Shawn McCarty, Ely MN (USA)
Peter McClelland, Ely MN (USA)
Kolby Morrison, Linden AB
Ed “The Sled” Obrecht, Otter Lake QC
Burton Penner, Vermillion Bay ON
Jesse Terry, Sioux Lookout ON
The Hudson Bay Quest now runs between Gillam, MB to the south and Churchill, MB on the edge of the Hudson Bay and no longer utilizes the 200 mile route to and from Arviat which traversed along the Hudson Bay ice edge. When conditions became too erratic and dangerous for mushers in a three-day blizzard in 2009, race officials called the race at the halfway point and the new route was born. Now, the 400 kilometer trek from Gillam to Churchill following along the edge of Wapusk National Parc is a self sufficient race with mushers carrying supplies for the entire route. It’s also a much safer race without the threat of traveling along the dangerous ice edge of the bay.
The 2012 Quest provided other challenges that all four Churchill mushers could not overcome. 2011 champion Charlie Lundie, Dan DiMuzio, Earnest Azure, and David Daley, race co-founder and owner of Wapusk Adventures , all withdrew from the race before finishing. Perhaps the lack of snow in Churchill this past Fall polar bear season contributed to teams not being prepared enough to conquer this years event. The festivities culminated this past Monday with an awards banquet in the Churchill town complex gymnasium. Great Northern spirit was shared by all!
Final standings and race observations can be found at the Hudson Bay Quest Facebook page. More in depth analysis of the race to follow in the next few weeks.