2018 Hudson Bay Quest Canceled

Hudson Bay Quest Churchill, Manitoba

Dave Daley leaving the start in Churchill. Nace Hageman photo.

For a second consecutive year the Hudson Bay Quest dog sled race, that runs from Churchill to Gillam every March, has been canceled. The ongoing saga of a washed out train line, known as the Hudson Bay Line, after runoff from two late-season blizzards in 2017 has again wreaked havoc on the region’s lifestyle. Without the train line to transport dogs and supplies for mushers, the expenses would be too steep for those wanting to compete.

“Normally what would happen was we would have our sponsors bring the mushers’ dog teams either to Churchill or from Churchill, depending on which direction the race was going,” said Bill Dingwall, Hudson Bay Quest committee chair.

“But this year, without the train, we couldn’t guarantee that the teams would either be able to get to the start or the finish, or home from the finish.”

The alternative would be returning by land with the dog teams after the race finishes and the cost for most mushers would be prohibitive

“That was quite a daunting task for a lot of the mushers and it would have cost them a lot more money,” said Dingwell.

“Once we put out that you’d be on your own to get to the start and home after the finish, I think it was an easy decision for a lot of the guys.”

Last year the Quest was canceled as well by one of the severe blizzards that buried the open tundra and made the trail too treacherous to run the dog teams.

“We were very disappointed last year because it was such a last minute decision to cancel,” he said. “This year we knew going in not having a rail line was going to be extremely hard to do with logistics of moving mushers, moving handlers, moving even our race marshal, our vets, and everybody … It wasn’t safe to do it, honestly.”

The Hudson Bay Quest is well known among the heartiest mushers as one of the most challenging races in North America. it annually draws mushers from all over the world and some use it as a stepping stone to bigger races such as the Iditarod and the Yukon Quest. On a smaller scale, mushers are self – sufficient out on the land just like those races.

“It’s not as long [as others] but it’s a hard race … It’s so hard that if you finish the race, you get your registration money back. Doesn’t matter when you finish, we have a timeline, but if you finish we give your registration money back just because it’s that much of an accomplishment, we feel.”

In a “normal year”, which in the north such a phrase carries a completely different meaning, the Quest will draw from 12 – 16 mushers and dog teams. This year only four had entered this far and three of those opted to defer their registration fees to next years event with the hope that the train line will be repaired and the region will be back in business. A decision to only proceed this year if a minimum of six racers entered was made early on. With the deadline to enter looming race organizers officially pulled the plug on this one.

The race has been an iconic event for the region for a long time and once the rail line is repaired it will happen again. Churchill, in particular, has suffered extensively from the lack of train service. The polar bear season was a needed boost to the morale and economy of the town but a long-term solution is needed. Town officials expect news soon on the transfer of the port and accompanying rail line and the future of the Hudson Bay Quest. Stay posted to our site for upcoming news on the ongoing drama in the north!

Hudson Bay Quest Official Top Three

Here’s the official Hudson Bay Quest results for the top three finishers in Gillam. We will post the complete official results Monday or Tuesday. Congratulations to all the mushers and all the volunteers that made the 2016 Hudson Bay Quest a great race!

Bib # 7 Ryan Anderson in at 17:26:43
Bib # 5 Shawn McCarty in at 18:42:56
Bib # 11 Peter McClelland in at 20:16:52


Hudson Bay Quest

Finish line at the HBQ in Gillam. HBQ photo.

Peter McClelland at the finish HBQ16

Peter McClelland at the Hudson Bay Quest finish line. HBQ photo.

Hudson Bay Quest

Hudson Bay Quest winner Ryan Anderson. HBQ photo.

Hudson Bay Quest

Hudson Bay Quest runner – up Sean McCarty. HBQ photo.

Hudson Bay Quest

Third place finisher peter McClelland. HBQ photo.

Hudson Bay Quest – Musher Update

Hudson Bay Quest 2014. Brad Josephs photo. Churchill, Manitoba

Hudson Bay Quest 2014. Brad Josephs photo.

Here’s the updated musher roster for the 2016 Hudson Bay Quest. This year’s race leaves Churchill heading towards Gillam on March 17th…yes St. Patrick’s Day. Let’s hope the luck of the Irish is with the mushers and helps with the weather. As the race draws nearer we will have updates and musher profiles.This year’s race will be another exciting event in the north!

1.) Dan DiMuzio
Kennel – Sleddog Energy
Churchill, MB

2.) Charlie Lundie
Kennel – Charlie’s Kennel
Churchill, MB

3.) David Daley
Kennel – Wapusk Adventures
Churchill, MB

4.) Justin Allen
Kennel – Wapusk Adventures
Churchill, MB

5.) Peter McClelland
Kennel – White Wilderness
Ely, MN, USA

6.) Shawn McCarty
Kennel – White Wilderness
Ely, MN, USA

7.) Jamie Nelson
Kennel – Rocky Glenn
Togo, MN, USA

8.) Craig Houghton
Kennel – Craig and Sean Racing Dogs
Fort St. James, BC

9.) Leanne Bergen
Kennel – Gone to the Dogs Racing
Sioux Lookout, ON

10.) Matt Groth
Kennel – Grand Marais Sled a Dog Adventures
Grand Marais, MN, USA

11.) Ryan Anderson
Kennel – AnderTier Racing
Ray, MN, USA

12.) Stefaan De Marie
Kennel – Akela’s Den Racing Kennel
Christopher Lake, SK

Traditionally the HBQ has around 17 mushers in the final field. registration is open and we expect a few more entrants.

Churchill Photos of the Week

Polar bears get all the press in Churchill, Manitoba. They are why most travelers head north to the Hudson Bay shoreline… hoping to see the “king of the Arctic”. Another animal is quite prevalent in the area and they inhabit the town year-round.

Sled dogs of different breeds are scattered all across the tundra on the outskirts of town. Mushers locate them in groups of 10-50 in designated areas on crown land leased for that purpose. With the increasing popularity of dog-sledding from a tourism standpoint as well as the increase in passion for professional endurance races such as the Hudson Bay Quest, the iconic “husky” sled dog has become an animal attraction for those wanting to get the full flavor of the Arctic.

Enjoy these fantastic photographs from Churchill…the new “sled dog” capitol of the north!

Hudson Bay Quest in Churchill, MB.

Hudson Bay Quest race start 2014 in Churchill, MB. Brad Josephs photo.

Canadian sled dog in Churchill, Manitoba

Canadian Eskimo sled dog outside Arctic Trading Company in Churchill. Karen Walker photo.

Churchill sled dogs.

Sled dog team waiting for the signal in Churchill.

Sled dog taking a quick rest between runs in Churchill, Manitoba.

Sled dog taking a quick rest between runs in Churchill.

Charlie Lundie and his Churchill,Manitoba dog team.

Churchill musher Charlie Lundie and his dog team. Steve Selden photo.

Churchill sled dogs in full mush mode. Brad Josephs photo.

Churchill sled dogs going for the gold. Brad Josephs photo.

Come to Churchill for a sled dog excursion with Natural Habitat Adventures! visit nathab.com for more information on these incredible experiences.

Pin It on Pinterest