FAIRBANKS - TransCanada Corp. has signed on as a major sponsor of the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race.
TransCanada is the 1,000-mile race's only major sponsor and will donate at least $25,000 to this year's race. The energy company has been a race sponsor since 2007.
Quest officials said getting a major sponsor means the race can guarantee a purse of at least $150,000, which is still short of the planned $200,000. Organizers hope to bridge the gap through fundraising and sponsorships.
"This is a significant development for the Yukon Quest," Stephen Reynolds, the organization's executive director in the Yukon, said in a news release. "Like many events that rely on sponsorship, the recent economic situation is having an impact on our partners, and TransCanada's decision to substantially increase their support strengthens our organization and the race itself."
On its Web site, the Quest lists more than 130 sponsors.
"We are proud to take on a more significant role with this renowned event," TransCanada spokesman Peter Kruselnicki said.
The race begins Feb. 14 in Whitehorse, Yukon, and will end about two weeks later in Fairbanks. Thirty-five teams are officially entered.
"As the only international marathon sled dog race in the world it is a unique event that fosters and recognizes the deep bonds uniting northerners in Canada and the United States," Kruselnicki said.
TransCanada is headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, and has about 3,850 employees. The Alaska Legislature has selected the company to pursue building a natural gas pipeline from the North Slope.