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

Comox to Texada ferry run suspended for now as pandemic precaution

BC Ferries not making schedule changes of regular Comox-Powell River route

Comox Valley centre offering free online meditation and mindfulness teachings

The Comox Valley has a well-kept secret in the Sherab Chamma Tibetan… Continue reading

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

Comox Valley Farmers’ Market set for online shopping

An online store will complement the market and is set to start taking orders soon.

Comox Valley Food Bank set to reopen

The organization closed last week due to concerns around COVID-19

Comox Valley grocers going extra mile during coronavirus

We have had numerous requests to post a fluid article directing consumers… Continue reading

Evening world update: U.S. restrictions extended 30 days; NY deaths near 1,000

Comprehensive world update, with the latest developments in the COVID-19 crisis

‘It’s up to us: Recently-returned B.C. couple urges Canadians to take COVID-19 seriously

Garrett Kucher and Tory Apostoliuk make it home after almost a week of lockdown in Spain

‘Nothing concrete’: Tenants, landlords lack details after B.C. unveils COVID-19 rental aid

Single mom in Golden says she’s already going to the food bank after being laid off

Speed, alcohol not ruled out as factors in crash that left one person dead

Police watchdog, Campbell River Major Crimes Unit are investigating

Canada will make sure masks sent by China meet quality standards: Trudeau

Chinese Embassy tweeted that China was sending 30,000 medical masks along with gowns, gloves and goggles

Cumberland has new waste collection service

Emterra begins new collection service as of March 30

B.C. issues guidelines about distancing, reusable bags to grocery stores amid COVID-19

Hand sanitizer and markers to keep lines two metres are apart are needed, province says

Most Read