Outside magazine, May 1994
Up North, where men are men and Susan Butcher is still the biggest name in sled-dog racing, there's a new name to learn: Jessica Royer, a bona fide teen phenom who took first place last February in Montana's 500-mile Race to the Sky. "She's tough," said one race official. "Other than the two mandatory layovers, she didn't spend more than 15 minutes at the checkpoints." Royer, the 17-year-old pride of Philipsburg, Montana, wasn't a total surprise: She turned heads earlier in the month when she finished fourth at her first major long-distance race, the prestigious John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon in Minnesota. Still, when the 12 teams gathered for the Race to the Sky start, the favorite was defending champion Rick Newton of Ashton, Idaho. In unseasonably warm 30-degree temperatures, Royer and Newton traded leads repeatedly until the halfway turnaround at Holland Lake. By the next checkpoint, Royer had about an hour's lead and was on her way to an easy victory in 101 hours and 51 minutes.