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Money for everyone who finishes the 2017 Yukon Quest, organizers promise

'We did an awesome job with fundraising, with merchandise sales, and sponsorship is so supportive,' says the executive director. 'As a result we had a great year and we can afford to prudently increase our purse amounts.'

Starting purse goes up by $5,000, every musher who finishes to get a share of final purse

One of Brent Sass's dogs after arriving at Dawson City during the 2016 Yukon Quest. Sass came second in the race. (Whitney McLaren/Yukon Quest)

All mushers who finish the upcoming 2017 Yukon Quest will win at least some money, now that organizers of the annual 1,000 mile race have raised the purse.

Early registration opens Saturday for next year's race, which will start next February in Whitehorse.

The starting purse for next year is now $120,000 — up from $115,00 last year. In 2016, that was augmented by a further $10,000.

In 2017, the first 15 finishers will get a percentage of the prize money with additional earnings distributed evenly among all finishers.

Natalie Haltrich, the race's executive director, says the idea to reward everyone who finishes started with the mushers themselves.

"We have raised it by five grand, plain and simple," she said. "That's not a huge increase but for us it feels fantastic.

"The quest is a community-driven event… we did an awesome job with fundraising, with merchandise sales, and sponsorship is so supportive. As a result we had a great year and we can afford to prudently increase our purse amounts."

In Whitehorse, early registration for the race is part of the Annual Yukon Quest BarkFest, which will include a barbecue, contests and presentations by veteran mushers.

with files from Kieran Oudshoorn

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