Diana Haecker, KTNA – Talkeetna
The Fur Rondy Open World Championships Sled Dog race wrapped up Sunday crowning a new champion. It is Egil Ellis of Willow, making this victory his fifth Fur Rondy win.
Ellis of Willow finished ahead of Salcha’s Arleigh Reynolds and Michigan musher Ken Chezik. Ellis credits his lead dog “Ruby” for making his magic carpet ride to victory possible.
Notably absent from the finishers list is last year’s champion Blayne Streeper. After an altercation on the trail with a fellow musher on Saturday, Streeper was disqualified.
Going uphill on Cordova Street – a hotspot for fans to cheer on mushers – Streeper passed Luke Sampson of Kotzebue. As the mushers were side by side, Streeper shoved Sampson in passing while hollering a profanity. After investigating the incident, the Alaska Sled Dog Race Association made a decision and race marshal Janet Clark said that such unsportsmanlike conduct is punished with disqualification from the race. Sampson did not file a formal protest. Streeper issued a press release apologizing to Sampson, but said that the race marshal over-reacted with the disqualification.
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