For his sixth time, and first since 2010, Buddy Streeper is the Fur Rendezvous Open World Champion, after winning the prestigious Fur Rondy race in Anchorage, Alaska on Feb. 25.
Streeper finished first out of all 21 mushers in the three-day, 75-mile race with a time of 4:14:51.
"It felt good, it really did. It took us a long time to get back to this spot," Streeper said.
Streeper ran the race in 2017, coming in second, and his wife Lina Streeper finished third.
The race consists of a 25-mile race over the same course each day, Friday to Sunday. Streeper was second on the first day by one second, but went on to take the lead for the remainder of the weekend. He had the fastest time on day two, and was second on day three, behind Lina , by a whole minute.
Lina’s day three time was 1:23:21 and she finished the race in 11th place.
"Lina had a leader that got a little confused which caused some stop time on the first day and set her back a little bit. But she had the fastest time on the third day, which showcased her team's ability," Streeper said.
Streeper said the race is unique in that Anchorage is like an obstacle course. Anchorage is a city of more than 300,000 people, but the race has been run on the same trail since 1940, when the town only had 15,000 people, Streeper said.
"You're now dealing with highways, under and overpasses, culverts and tunnels, all in the first mile."
The race has been held by the Alaskan Sled Dog and Racing Association every year since 1946. Streeper first won the world championship in 2004, and won the title four times in a row from 2007 to 2010.
"I first saw this race on TV in 1985 and I wanted to compete in it. In my opinion it's still the biggest race in the sport," said Streeper.
Streeper said the race used to be his team's super bowl, the race they would put all their efforts into preparing for. The past eight years he and Lina have switched to focusing on the Pedigree Stage Stop in Wyoming, which Lina won in February. Now, the Streeper's are focused on both races.
The Streepers are now preparing for their next big race, the 73rd Annual GCI Open North American Championship Sled Dog Race in Fairbanks, Alaska, March 16 to 18.
The Streepers own and operate Streeper Kennels in Fort Nelson.
Email sports reporter Dillon Giancola at firstname.lastname@example.org.