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

It happened in 1913

Sept. 20 - 26: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the newspapers at the Cranbrook History Centre and Archives

A Winter’s Tale: Live theatre returns to Cranbrook with “Almost, Maine”

Cranbrook Community Theatre presentation, opening Friday, shows us how we leave each other, and how we make our way back

MP Morrison faults federal Throne Speech as new Parliament session begins

Kootenay-Columbia representative criticizes a lack of focus on jobs, support for resource sector

City grants permissive tax exemption for indoor facility

Cranbrook city council voted in favour of granting a permissive tax exemption… Continue reading

Ringing in a new season of Hugs and Slugs

Hugs: To our local photographers! I have had a bird coming to… Continue reading

Category 2 open burning prohibitions rescinded throughout Southeast Fire Centre

Category 3 open fires, as defined in the Wildfire Regulation, remain prohibited

BC Liberal Leader talks drug addiction in the Lower Mainland

Drug addiction and public safety a top priority says Andrew Wilkinson

Pandemic derails CP Holiday Train

Canadian Pacific will work to get donations to food banks while also producing an online music concert

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Interior Health reports five new COVID-19 cases

Across the region, 34 cases are active

Vanderhoof’s Brian Frenkel takes on top job in tough times

We can get through this, new local government leader says

Local councils important, Horgan says as municipal conference ends

B.C. NDP leader says ‘speed dating’ vital, online or in person

Most Read