Martin Massicotte of Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, was the first musher to complete the course as the Hudson Bay Quest dog sled race between Gillam and Churchill returned March 15 after having been cancelled the two previous years due to a lack of train service north of Gillam and a blizzard.
Massicotte, who first competed in – and won – the Hudson Bay Quest in 2015, crossed the finish line ahead of Denis Tremblay, Blake Freking, Peter McLelland, Jacob Leingang, Shawn McCarty, David Daley, Kevin Malikowski and Ed Obrecht. Daley, from Churchill, was the only Manitoban in the race, which began in Gillam this year and ended in Daley’s hometown.
The 2018 race was cancelled due to a lack of registrations and the logistical difficulties presented by the lack of rail service past Gillam.
The 2017 race was cancelled as a result of the massive blizzard that hit Churchill and much of the rest of Northern Manitoba in early March that year.
The race began in 2004 and for several years covered a route between Churchill and Arviat, Nunavut. In 2012 it began to be run between Gillam and Churchill, with the start and finish lines switching between the two towns in alternating years.
Racers must carry all the gear they need to ride out inclement weather, including a tent, a cooker and fuel as well as a SPOT check device so race officials and interested observers can track the racers’ progress. The course includes a mandatory six-hour stop in M’Clintock.