Just days after a surprising scratch on the Yukon Quest trail, Eureka musher Brent Sass withdrew his team from the 2017 Iditarod.
The race’s Trail Committee made the announcement early Saturday morning. No other information was provided.
The news comes after Sass took himself out of this year’s Quest toward the end of the race while running in the lead. According to a lengthy note posted to Facebook after the incident, Sass wrote that two of his dogs collapsed on the trail, prompting him to request help on his spot tracker. Vets examined the dogs and determined both were in stable health. Though officials gave Sass the chance to continue with the race, he wrote that he felt “too shook up,” and scratched.
In the weeks since, editorial writers and online commentator’s have clashed over whether Sass did the right thing, or is at fault for pushing his dogs too hard. In the 2016 Iditarod, Sass dropped from third place to 20th when his team refused to leave the White Mountain checkpoint, prompting a long rest.
This year’s Iditarod has 72 mushers signed up to race.