Dawson City race delivers the mail the old-fashioned way

Mushers have arrived in Dawson City, finishing this year's Percy DeWolfe Memorial Mail Race.

The contest is named after a famous postman who spent 39 years carrying Dawsonites' letters.

Percy DeWolfe carried the mail to and from Dawson City by dog team as well as by horse and boat from 1915 to 1950.

It was dangerous work and there are many stories of his bravery crossing open water and his ability to survive in the cold.

Dawson City's Jason Biasetti won this year's race, crossing the finish line just before 4:30 p.m. Friday. He was followed within a few minutes by Whitehorse's Marine Gastard.   

 

Letters still carried by dogsled

Letters are still sent in the race via dogsled from Dawson City to Eagle, Alaska. 

Musher Jason Biasetti carried the ceremonial mail bag this year.  The mailbag handover is treated with the utmost ceremony and overseen by an RCMP officer in red serge. 

Mushers in the Percy Memorial travel between Dawson City and Eagle Alaska as a return-trip. The race includes eight hours of enforced rest. 

Anna Claxon helps to organize the race which began in 1977. 

"It's actually a fundraiser that we do," Claxon explained. "Throughout the year we sell envelopes for $5 with postcards in them. People can write an address and it can go anywhere in the world. They head down with the person wearing bib number two — bib number one is always reserved for Percy. Number two is the first team in the race."

The mail is carried from Dawson City in a sack. Once in Alaska it's put into the U.S. postal service and carried to destination.  

The 338-kilometre Memorial Race is joined by the shorter Percy Junior. 

Alexandra Rocha won the shorter 160-kilometre Percy DeWolfe Junior Memorial Mail Race in Dawson City.