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

Geotechnical work set to get underway at Rossland Museum

Crews will be working at the museum from June 1 to 12

Trail Smoke Eaters owner awaits word on BCHL future

Smoke Eaters owner Rich Murphy is hopeful that the BCHL will return to the ice in the fall

City of Rossland asks motorists to be mindful of four bears roaming around Trail hill

The bears have been seen multiple times along the highway this month

Young farmers find a home through land-matching program

Young Agrarians links would-be farmers with landowners who have land to spare

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Nanaimo senior clocked going 50 km/hr over limit says her SUV shouldn’t be impounded

RCMP say they can’t exercise discretion when it comes to excessive speeding tickets

Illicit-drug deaths up in B.C. and remain highest in Canada: chief coroner

More than 4,700 people have died of overdoses since B.C. declared a public health emergency in early 2016

CMHC sees declines in home prices, sales, starts that will linger to end of 2022

CMHC said average housing prices could fall anywhere from nine to 18 per cent in its forecast

B.C. Paralympian named to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame

Three-time world and Paralympic gold medalist Sonja Gaudet is part of 11-member class

Restorative pole project underway in Edgewood

The pole was made almost 50 years ago to pay respect to local First Nations

Most Read