Photos and text by Justin Kennedy
After 460 grueling miles of turbulent waters, frigid cold nights, aching bodies and 50-plus hours of paddling on the Yukon River, the two-time defending champion team, The Texans, emerged victorious as the winner of the 13th Annual Yukon River Quest on Friday. As their boat came to a stop on the banks of the Yukon River, the three-time winners dawned humbling smiles. They made it to Dawson City, Yukon, 52 hours after leaving Whitehorse, on Wednesday.
Teammates were happy to be on land and finished with the race. Physically, the team looked good, but deep down there bodies were not. “This race was particularly hard and harder than I expected because I came from the Texas Water Safari three weeks ago. I have been paddling a ton this year and I am trained up and everything, but I must have injured my back before the race and it was killing me the whole time,” said William Russell of The Texans.
A few hours later the second place team, Sausages and Mussels, came into Dawson City, setting off celebratory fireworks before hitting the finish line. A local team from Whitehorse, they were extremely happy crossing the finish line and full of smiles and high-fives. Teams will continue to cross the finish line of the 13th Annual Yukon River Quest until Sunday evening.