Yukon Quest dog team arrives at Dawson City checkpoint without musher

A man named Jason arrives at the Dawson checkpoint on Richie Beattie’s sled after he found the team running alone near Moosehide on Feb. 7. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News)
Rob Cooke and his team arrive in Dawson shortly after Richie Beattie was reunited with his team on Feb. 7 during the 2020 Yukon Quest. Cooke picked up Beattie along the trail and was bringing him to Dawson before a Quest official drove Beattie back to the checkpoint and his team. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News)
Richie Beattie and his wife Emily Rosenblatt embrace after Beattie was reunited with his team at the Dawson checkpoint on Feb. 7 during the 2020 Yukon Quest (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News)

When Richie Beattie’s dog team reached the Dawson checkpoint during the 2020 Yukon Quest 1,000 Mile International Sled Dog Race in the early afternoon Friday, the man on the sled was not Beattie.

The man on the sled was a Dawson City resident named Jason who did not want to give his last name to the Yukon News.

He said he had gone cross-country skiing and saw the team running without a musher.

“I just was skiing now to open water near the Moosehide and I was going to take a photo,” said Jason. “I see the dog team coming from a distance around the bend and there was no musher.”

He said he wasn’t sure what to do, but after some quick thinking decided getting the team to town was the best course of action.

“I figure the best (thing) is to come back to town and get someone to get him,” said Jason. “I was on the trail and they kind of stopped and looked at me straight on. They came right towards me because I was at a crossroads there.”

Shortly after Beattie’s team arrived, Beattie himself rode into the checkpoint on the back of a snowmobile. He ran from the machine, stumbling in the snow before he reached his wife who was waiting on the back of the sled.

Just a minute or two after that exchange, Yukoner Rob Cooke and his team reached the checkpoint.

Cooke said he had picked up Beattie from the trail a few miles before the checkpoint.

“There was a guy walking down the trail and he was freaking the dogs out and I was getting ready to shout at him because he wouldn’t move,” said Cooke. “Then he crossed the trail and he turned around and I recognized him.”

Cooke asked Beattie what happened and said Beattie told him he thought he’d fallen asleep.

“He said that he’d been super tired the whole way and there had been a couple of times he’d lost the trail and fallen asleep,” said Cooke. “He said he came to and his dogs were halfway down the trail.”

Beattie was most concerned about his dogs, Cooke said.

“He was super worried, obviously,” said Cooke. “His dogs had just taken off and in a situation like that, anything can happen. I thought I could see them and it looked like they were still moving OK.”

Cooke said they then came upon some photographers, who relayed that someone had caught the team and was taking them back to Dawson.

“The dogs were fine,” said Cooke. “So that was a relief.”

Beattie then caught a ride on a snowmobile the rest of the way.

Cooke said he himself had issues with staying awake the night before.

“I was really struggling last night coming into Clinton Creek to stay awake, so I understand,” said Cooke. “And he didn’t get much sleep in Clinton Creek, I don’t think, so I can understand where he was coming from.”

Race officials clarified to media that Beattie will not be penalized for the incident. Beattie was not made available for questions after arriving in Dawson.

Per the official Yukon Quest website, Cooke’s arrival time was 3:17 p.m. and Beattie’s was 3:18 p.m.

Contact John Hopkins-Hill at john.hopkinshill@yukon-news.com

Yukon Quest

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Illegal fishing, snowmobiling caught in Caribou-protected areas of northern B.C.

Closures are to support the recovery of caribou herds: BC Conservation Officer Service

Bailey’s celebrating 100 years of farming in B.C.

Vanderhoof farm received the Century Farm Award awarded by the Ministry of Agriculture.

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs call for end of police patrols

Temporary closure of field office not enough to meet demands

Alice in Wonderland Jr. coming to Vanderhoof this March

W.L. McLeod Elementary presents its 12th production

Mainly sunny Saturday, but cloudy weather in the forecast

Environment Canada weather report for the week of Feb. 24

VIDEO: Feds warned agricultural sector near ‘tipping point’ due to blockades

Canadian Federation of Agriculture points to lack of propane and feed due to Coastal GasLink dispute

B.C. terminates contract with hospice society refusing assisted death

Delta Hospice Society loses hospital service fund of $1.5 million

Seven arrested at blocked rail line in northern B.C., police say

But a Gitxsan hereditary chief says 14 were arrested, as fight over natural gas pipeline continues

Hospital parking fees needed, but changes to payment system possible, health minister says

B.C. health minister Adrian Dix says hospital parking doesn’t need to be so stressful

Protecting privacy key to stopping spread of COVID-19, B.C. health officials say

The number of coronavirus cases in B.C. remains at seven

IHOP to host seventh annual National Pancake Day

IHOP will be offering free short-stack pancakes in support of BC Children’s Hospital on Tuesday

Do you talk to your spouse about money? 42% of Canadians don’t, poll suggests

Politics, sex, religion top list of taboo subjects for Canadians

Okanagan animal sanctuary seeks to fit frostbitten baby goat with prosthetic leg

Fundraiser started to help Zuri, newest resident of Twin Hearts Animal Sanctuary

Most Read