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

B.C. First Nation breaks ground on $4.5 million gas bar in the Chilcotin

Chilcotin River Trading at Tl’etinqox will feature a grocery store, café and more

City of Williams Lake continues to chip away at debt load

In five years the total owing has been reduced from $14.1 million to $9.3 million

City overcharged South Lakeside residents on water and sewer tax, says Judy Albin

City staff are seeking direction from city council on how to proceed at Tuesday meeting

Witnesses sought in Quesnel River Bridge hit and run

The damage to the bridge is estimated to be over $30,000

Police probe reports that fire alarm didn’t sound during fatal Prince George motel blaze

A suspect was also arrested, but later released pending further investigation

Recent surge in COVID-19 cases not unexpected amid Phase Three of reopening: B.C.’s top doc

Keep circles small, wear masks and be aware of symptoms, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

Children suffer swollen eyes, burns while playing at Lower Mainland spray park

Mission RCMP are investigating incident that injured several children

B.C. NDP changing WorkSafeBC regulations to respond to COVID-19

Employers say reclassifying coronavirus could be ‘ruinous’

Baby raccoon rescued from 10-foot deep drainage pipe on Vancouver Island

‘Its cries were loud, pitiful and heartbreaking,’ Saanich animal control officer says

Statistical flaws led to B.C. wolf cull which didn’t save endangered caribou as estimated

Study finds statistical flaws in an influential 2019 report supporting a wolf cull

Windows broken, racist graffiti left on Okanagan home

Family says nothing like this has happened since they moved to Summerland in 1980s

B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’ charged with sex assault of teenage boys

The man, 75, is accused of assaulting teenage boys he met through Coquitlam-area churches

B.C.’s potential deficit $12.5 billion as spending spikes, taxes drop

Finance Minister Carole James gives COVID-19 outlook

Canadians torn on scaling back COVID-19 benefits to save money: poll

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent said they were worried about the size of the deficit

Most Read