He claimed titles in that 1,000-mile (1,609-kilometer) race between Fairbanks and Whitehorse, Yukon, in 2015, 2019 and 2020. When asked his opinion on the mushers who received penalties for sheltering their teams, Sass didn mince words. When I started mushing, my goal was to win the Yukon Quest and win the Iditarod and checked them both off the list now.. Contribute $5 or $10 today to help Indian Country Today carry out its critical mission. As of press time, only Sass and Seavey had left Ruby. He is also a two-time winner of the Kobuk 440 in Kotzebue, Alaska, and the John Beargrease Marathon in Grand Portage, Minnesota. Of the original 49 racers, 45 are still on the trail on their way to Nome. Alright, guys, he said. Its awesome. He said he has raised the dogs in his team since they were puppies. If his mood is off, or if he's cold, the dogs can "sour. Getting to know each dogs behavior and personality is what makes dog mushing such an adventure. Hes also a winner of the Kuskokwim 300. How fast was Seavey traveling? (Photo courtesy of Iditarod Insider). He said he could hardly see anything. Sass kennel name and motto Wild and Free is based on a Hobo Jim song. Iditarod winner Brent Sass drives his team down Front Street in Nome, Alaska, on his way to the finish chute of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race Tuesday, March 15, 2022. It's the evolution of society, Schaeffer said. The winner typically arrives in the early hours on Tuesday. They ran super fast and awesome right though the wind [then], our dream was realized.". When I heard that song I was like, wow, you know, that depicted what I was trying to do. Its been cool to watch because weve raced pretty hard the whole time and theyre a lot of fun to be with.. ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) Brent Sass continues to lead the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Sunday (March 13, 2022), but he must hold off the defending champion as mushers have reached the Bering Sea sea coast and its treacherous ice. Sass was the first musher to reach the Yukon, arriving in Ruby at 5:57 a.m. Friday. That just makes this victory even sweeter.. First Musher to the Yukon Sponsored by The Lakefront Anchorage

This year, racers are contending with warm weather. There's rules. Sass placed 16th the following year before taking a three-year break from the Iditarod. I think a lot of us want to get to Nome and be done. I havent looked at the time, but isnt he like three hours ahead? Seavey said. He calls them "resilient," "champs," and the real "rock stars.". Along with Neff, two more mushers scratched in the past 24 hours. It is just too expensive., Inupiaq musher Apayauq Reitan is set to become the first transgender woman to compete in the storied Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, which begins Saturday, March 5, 2022. Reach him at ltreinen@alaskapublic.org. Because of that, I am able to go out there and keep that positive attitude, and really it flows right into the dogs. For his part, Seavey was resigned to runner-up status. Anything is possible. I feel confident in em but if were going for the win were way too far behind. He and his team came in sixth, crossing the finish line at 10:02:13 p.m. Our stories are worth sharing. I was like, Oh my god, thats so nice of you. Sass, however, did not stop in Ruby for the meal. Tegan Hanlon is the deputy digital editor at Alaska Public Media. Mushing is a way of life for Brent it gives him a chance to get out and explore Alaska, but most importantly it is all about the dogs and the relationship he has with each and every one of them.

She was also the first transgender woman to start the Iditarod. This year, the race was shortened to smaller races on both sides of the border, with Sass winning both the 350-mile (563-kilometer) Alaska race and the 300-mile (483-kilometer) Canadian contest. Alaska Public Media 2020. We stuck to our game plan and ran our own race, and we werent worried about anybody else around us, Sass told Anchorage television station KTUU during his layover.

According to a race analysis on the Iditarod website, Yes, Sass is in the lead, but they are all within striking distance.. My self-discipline has gotten a lot better over the last few years, he said before the start of this years Iditarod. Contact reporter Maisie Thomas at 907-459-7544 or mthomas@newsminer.com. He gave his dogs snacks. Mushers were united in praise for their teams of sled dogs. He earned another award for being the first to reach the Yukon River, which includes a five-course meal and $3,500. Eventually he spotted one reflective light off a trail marker and convinced his team to scramble uphill and back onto the trail. "They were just like rock stars. Sass and Seavey also faced heavy winds after arriving on the Bering Sea coast. ", "You can really fake it, either. The mushing community in the Kuskokwim is still thriving, surprisingly enough. Visibility was zero and he set out to find the trail again. Cloudy. Those who were glued to the race tracker, following Sass progress and Seaveys relentless pursuit, noticed that for a while Sass tracker stopped about eight miles away from the Topkok Shelter Cabin. Sass immediately walked down his line of dogs, petting each one. Fans lined the street welcoming the popular musher, who was escorted by police for the final few blocks to the famous burled arch that marked his victory. Dogs tire faster in warm conditions, which is likely why racers are choosing to take layovers during the day and run overnight. Those unfamiliar with the sport might think that being in the lead is exactly where you want to be, but strategy has taught Sass that racing, and life, isn't always about being in front. And the next year, he tried to keep up with Dallas Seavey and his dad, Mitch Seavey. Please log in, or sign up for a new account and purchase a subscription to continue reading. He was welcomed by his mother, daughter and grandfather Dan Seavey who raced the first Iditarod in 1973. Its the same area where Iditarod champions Susan Butcher and Rick Swenson once trained.

Seavey, who lives in Talkeetna, has said he expects to take a break from racing after this years Iditarod to spend more time with his daughter. Its crazy.. Brent Sass continues to set the pace in Iditarod 2022, Iditarod 50 shapes up to be a sprint to Nome, Brent Sass: Winning Iditarod is 'a dream come true', Iditarod mushers arrive in Nome in quick succession. Alaska Native artistry received the spotlight during the Iditarod. Hes the best right now, said Sass. Sass shared that he only slept about 16 hours during the eight-day race, mostly during mandatory rest periods or cuddling up to the dogs on the trail for a cat nap. But he didnt catch up. Its been a long race., Richie Diehl, March 14 in Koyuk: My teams been doing awesome. Winds SE at 5 to 10 mph. Lolly Medley Memorial Sponsored by City of Nome, Galapagos Auction (During Iditarod in July), Iditarod Trail Committee - a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, Insider Help How to experience the race, Registration Start, Restart, Trail, and Other. Safety is the last checkpoint before the finish line. Alaskan, at 20, launches on a one-man mission to help Ukrainians. Mushers and race officials went through a series of COVID-19 tests before and during the race including at the finish line. She is one of four Alaska Natives competing this year and the third transgender musher in three years. Its a very special feeling to be traveling the traditional way of doing it, Reitan said in a pre-race interview with Indian Country Today. Quidditch ditches its association with JK Rowling with official name change, Texas Tech football players to be paid serious money through new NIL contracts, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart becomes college sports' top dog, Steph Curry hosts ESPYS as Brittney Griner's detention takes center stage. Winds SSE at 5 to 10 mph.. Cloudy with occasional showers overnight. "Brass tax of it is, we're in a race. All three were out of McGrath by 12:15 p.m. Friday. 6 just north of Anchorage. Dallas Seavey. Indigenous musher Richie Diehl, Denaina Athabascan, was in the top 10 the entirety of the 2022 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, and came in sixth place. ", Sass advised those chasing anything to "follow your dreams. Sass led much of the race, not knowing how far five-time champion Dallas Seavey was behind him. I am living the exact life that I want to live. NOME The 1,000-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race has a new champion. Despite the early morning hour, hundreds of Nomeites, visitors and Iditarod fans lined Front Street when Sass dog team strutted into the finish chute. This year's event began with 49 mushers, and five have dropped out along the trail. Example video title will go here for this video. Thats the spirit of the Iditarod. Redington, grandson of Iditarod race founder Joe Redington Sr., told Insider in response, Im happy to help Michelle. Every one of these dogs I've raised since puppies, and we've been working towards this goal the whole time, and we're here," he said, his voice cracking. While noting the mushers did the right thing for their dogs, the marshal determined the teams' actions counted as a competitive advantage. Rightfully so. Brent was born and raised in Minnesota but moved to Alaska over 20 years ago. Mushers travel the way of the ancestors, on ancestral routes, in sight of natural features that the ancestors knew. He said care for the animals comes before everything, and that racers must "take the pride in doing the best thing for [their] dogs." Sass said Seavey is the best right now and being able to to sort of keep him at bay the whole entire race and and race against the best guy in the business, that just makes this victory even sweeter.. That, and a storm that sent many in the race into a tailspin. He is a three-time Yukon Quest (1000-mile) Champion (2015, 2019 and 2020) receiving the Vets Choice award for his dog care in 2015 and 2019. Sass, 42, operates the Wild and Free Kennel in Eureka, Alaska, a remote homesteader paradise that produced two other Iditarod champions: the late Susan Butcher and Rick Swenson. Sass won the Iditarod, despite getting blown off the trail by a ground blizzard on the last leg of the race. "Ideally, for a musher, you wanna kinda ride back and make a move and pass people," he explained, noting the first one on the trail is in a "risky position." This year's 50th Iditarod caused controversy, as a storm at the end of the race blew Sass and his fellow teams off the trail. Iditarod veteran Ryne Olson of Two Rivers decided to withdraw from the race in McGrath on Thursday evening. I think a lot about the great mushers, like Herbie Nayokpuk the Shishmaref Cannonballas well as Isaac Okleasik and my family, he said. Mushers are currently spread between Galena, Ruby, Cripple and Ophir. Sasss first Iditarod victory comes on his seventh try. She had been racing most recently with nine dogs in harness.

Seavey posed for photos with his dogs. Sass recounted how winds progressively got worse in the Topkok Hills and that just staying on the trail turned out to be a monumental challenge. And weve been working towards this goal the whole time and were here. Kosel Sets Record At Cheyenne Frontier Days, 2022 National High School Finals Rodeo - Central SD Results & Schedule, Federal crop insurance still a top priority for farmers, Oahe Softball Hall Of Fame To Induct New Members. He has dominated the Iditarod for many years, placing first in five of his last seven races. Every one of these dogs Ive raised since puppies, and weve been working toward this goal the whole time, he said. All rights reserved. How has he met the physical and mental strain, and the harsh weather, to get to the top of the game? Would an additional rest allow Seavey to close in on him? It was very, very windy out there, we took a tumble and went off the trail and I thought we have to hunker down and wait and see how the cards fell, Sass said at the finish line. Other Alaska Native communities on the trail include Unalakleet, population 882; Koyuk, population 258; and Shaktoolik, population 199. But when he told the story, after a meal and a nap, it didnt sound like fun. And once we got back to the trail, they just took off a hundred miles an hour again, and we were able to stay on the trail and get in here. I think, living where I live and making it an all-inclusive lifestyle, thats, you know, the way it used to be, its kind of the way it is for me, Sass said at White Mountain on Monday. Checked them both off the list now, he said. Update: This story has been updated to note that Indigenous musher Apayauq Reitan crossed the finish line. In 2020, he placed fourth and was third last year. Seavey, 35, had been racing for his sixth Iditarod win. I think were going to take them down to take some naps. RELATED: RELATED: Wind almost derailed Brent Sasss first Iditarod victory. *Alaska Native Country. Although Sass has a roughly 80 mile lead on Seavey, with slightly over 400 miles left for leaders to run, the race is far from over. The route took mushers along Alaskas untamed and unforgiving wilderness, including two mountain ranges, the frozen Yukon River and Bering Sea ice along the states western coastline. Sass got back on the trail, made it across the last mountain and down to the coast, where it was windy, but he said, at least it was flat. In 2015 he was disqualified when race officials found he had an iPod Touch with him on the trail, a violation of race rules banning two-way communication devices because the iPod Touch could connect to the Internet. The route took mushers along Alaskas untamed and unforgiving wilderness, including two mountain ranges, the frozen Yukon River and Bering Sea ice along the states western coastline. I did promise them straw when we got here.. The first musher to reach the checkpoint in McGrath (mile 311) received the Alaska Air Transit Spirit of Iditarod Award a pair of musher mitts made of beaver fur and beaded moose hide, handcrafted by Athabascan artist Loretta Maillelle of McGrath. Lex Treinen covers culture, homelessness, politics and corrections for Alaska Public Media. His previous best finish was third last year. He called the moment "harrowing," as he thought he was going to have to concede just 50 miles short of the finish line. (Photo courtesy of Iditarod Insider). Its all on them. Its crazy.. Other highlights of the 50th Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race: *Native artistry. The nearly 1,000-mile (1,609-kilometer) race across Alaska began Mar. You could fly and go from north to south in one day, but youre kind of missing the land., Indigenous musher Ryan Redington, Inupiaq, was in eighth place as of 5:40 a.m. Alaska time on the final day of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, headed for an anticipated finish in the Top 10. Neff ended up scratching in Ruby a few hours later, around 11 a.m. Heres what happened. *Spirit of the Iditarod. Sass said he was super, super, super proud of his dog team. It was very, very windy out there, Sass said. I had to make it very interesting at the end, Sass said. This years event began with 49 mushers, and five have dropped out along the trail. The last three mushersa group comprised of Yuka Honda, Lisbet Norris and Kailyn Davisdecided to take their layovers in McGrath. I had a dream since I was five years old, to come to Alaska, Sass said . Sass, at the finish line, described Seavey as the best guy in the business and said beating him felt pretty good. In 2015 he was disqualified when race officials found he had an iPod Touch with him on the trail, a violation of race rules banning two-way communication devices because the iPod Touch could connect to the Internet. (Most mushers start with 16 and leave dogs at checkpoints depending on the dog's health and performance). And in order to keep the race competitive, in order to keep the race where it's still a race that we're running for money, running for prestige, running for all of these things, we want the competitiveness to be on an even plane," Sass said. The storm caused a whirlwind in its wake. She crossed the finish line just before midnight on Saturday, March 19,battling a storm along the Bering Sea coast with a team of young dogs. If youre going across Alaska, you get more of a sense of scale when you travel on trails over 10 or 12 days. Brent Sass, in his seventh running of the Iditarod, won the 2022 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog race, arriving under the burled arch on Tuesday morning at 5:38 a.m. with 11 dogs in harness, clocking a time of eight days, 14 hours, 38 minutes and 43 seconds. Thank you, Phillips told Iditarod Insider on March 9. And we have hired more Native journalists in the past year than any news organization and with your help we will continue to grow and create career paths for our people. But if some break the rules, they have to "serve the punishment.". "The dogs decided they were willing to get up and follow me back to the trail," Brent recounted. My grandparents went on a cruise when I was a kid and I saw pictures and I told my parents when I was five that Alaska was the place I wanted to go. Richard Arlin WalkerSpecial to Indian Country Today. Sass spoke of his confidence in his team, and their resilience and preparation to deal with the exact conditions that arose. This is the 50th running of the race, which started in 1973. They did an excellent job the whole race. Im no longer the young kid on the trail anymore, which catches up with me every now and then.. The third place musher, Jessie Holmes, was about 50 miles (80 kilometers) behind Seavey. Sass, who lives in the tiny area of Eureka, about a four-hour drive northwest of Fairbanks, had more success meanwhile in the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race. Checked them both off the list now," he said.

Let us know what you're seeing and hearing around the community. Reach her at thanlon@alaskapublic.org. Seavey, a five-time Iditarod champion, arrived an hour and eight minutes under the burled arch with seven dogs in harness and a time of eight days, 15 hours, 46 minutes. High 67F. (Photo courtesy of Apayauq Reitan). Sass knew Seavey would sign each checkpoint log, would see when Sass checked in and out, and could adjust his own strategy accordingly. NOME, Alaska Musher and Minnesota native Brent Sass has claimed his first Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, crossing the finish line in Nome, Alaska early Tuesday. I couldnt see anything, he said. Related stories:Mushers face hurdles on road to Iditarod 2022Inupiaq musher set to make history in Iditarod. Three of the four Indigenous mushers in the race Richie Diehl, Peter Kaiser and Ryan Redington finished in the top 10. (Anne Raup/Anchorage Daily News via AP), Several Alaska Native mushers finish in Top 10. Brent Sass spent much of the 2022 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog race in a position that might have intimidated less-experienced mushers. The Eureka musher, who placed third last year, has made it clear that he will be a force to contend with during his sixth Iditarod. He also placed third and fourth in the 2021 and 2000 Iditarod, respectively. He ran through the checkpoint on to Galena, which he also passed through. His plan: Dont worry about the competition. Born and raised in Minnesota, Sass moved to Alaska more than 20 years ago to attend the University of Alaska Fairbanks and join its Nordic ski team. At one point during the last few miles of the race, he took a tumble, and the sled went off the trail. Where were at is probably a best-case scenario for them. You have permission to edit this article. Dorothy G. Page Halfway Sponsored by GCI At the Topkok Shelter cabin, he fed the dogs a snack and then continued, still through serious winds, but at least on a flat coastal plane, to Nome and to victory. I mean I couldnt see anything, the dogs the only reason we got out of there was cause they trusted me to get them back to the trail and once we got back to the trail, they just took off 100 miles an hour again and we were able to stay on the trail and get in here. The race marshal demoted those who sheltered their animals: two lost their finishing positions and one was fined. Sass was the first to arrive in Cripple on Tuesday, where he and several other frontrunners, including Seavey, took their 24 hour layovers. It is Diehls third top 10 finish in eight Iditarods; he finished ninth in 2021 and sixth in 2018. Whats a dad to do? For him and his team, the best thing to do was get out of the worsening weather situation by mushing into Nome and onto the win. The nearly 1,000-mile (1,609-kilometer) race across Alaska began March 6 just north of Anchorage. When Brent Sass talks about his dog team, he always says, "We." So, to have three of our people in the top 10 is still exciting. Brent Sass and his 11-dog team pulled into Nome early Tuesday in temperatures around zero to a cheering crowd. Sass and his team maintained a 10-mile distance ahead of Team Seavey to win the 1,000-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race March 15, crossing the finish line at about 5:40 a.m. Alaska time. Its crazy, he said, as emotions caught up with him. At the finish line, Redington grandson of Iditarod race founder Joe Redington Sr. and one of six Iditarod veterans in his familypaid homage to those who came before him. After falling in love with the trails of Eureka, AK, Brent took over a homestead established in the 70s and where he has lived with his dogs since 2012. He doesn't believe he put his dogs in an "insurmountable" situation. He shared that living and surviving in Alaska was a childhood dream, but that he later realized he wanted to be a musher when he saw a dog sled team while he was out skiing. Richard Arlin Walker, Mexican/Yaqui, is a journalist and long-time Indian Country Today correspondent living in Anacortes, Washington.

Its the first Iditarod win for Sass, a wilderness guide and kennel owner who was running in his seventh Iditarod. Sass uses racing mantras, many of which he has tattooed. While this is Sasss first Iditarod win, hes won the 1,000-mile Yukon Quest three times, plus other mid-distance races. "I really thoroughly enjoy what I do. I thought it was the right thing to do.. Yet, he also admitted mushing through this storm was some of the hardest he has ever done. Mushers are required to take an eight hour layover somewhere on the Yukon River. The race closed many indoor places to the public and bypassed one checkpoint completely. But his team persevered and found the trail again. Iditarod veteran Charlie Schaeffer, Inupiaq, of Kotzebue, followed this years race and reported updates on social media. The native Minnesotan who now lives in Eureka, Alaska, has raced in five Iditarods, earning Rookie of the Year in 2012 and placing fourth in 2020 and third in 2021. He told Indian Country Today the fact three Alaska Natives finished in the top 10 was significant. Considering the Iditarod is 1,000 miles of flatland tundra, treacherous inclines, blizzard-prone summit passes, steep gorge descents and frigid river overflow, simply finishing the race is a significant accomplishment. A weather station along the trail showed winds blowing as strong as 50 miles per hour. The next year he fell back to 22nd place, before skipping the 2014 race. ", "As crazy as your dream may be," he added, "Definitely don't let it go.". We persevered, got up, found the trail again and I dont even know what the wind was blowing out there. The teams in White Mountain included Jessie Holmes, Dan Kaduce, Richie Diehl and Pete Kaiser.

SUPPORT INDIGENOUS JOURNALISM. The only reason we got out of there is because they trusted me, he said. Sasss victory this year comes in an Iditarod notable for warm weather, fast speeds and some tough, early sections of trail, including barren tundra and bone-jarring moguls. By Diana Haecker While he characterized the situation as not life threatening to him or the dogs, he said, his worst fear was that hed see the headlight of Dallas Seavey pass by him and thus him handing the race to Seavey.

He has also learned to trust his team, his preparation, and himself. According to GPS trackers each musher carries, Sass has a lead of just over 10 miles on Dallas Seavey. Redington told Iditarod Insider on March 11 in Cripple (mile 425): Theyre doing really good, theyre feeling good, theyre eating so well. Sass had fans sweating overnight as they watched the online tracker and saw him stopped twice between White Mountain and Nome, hit by a huge windstorm around the infamous Topkok Blowhole. Sass remained unfazed. By the time Seavey crossed the finish line, the next closest mushers were resting in White Mountain, with still 77 miles to Nome. He was still able to joke, saying: Weve got a pretty solid lead over third.. By Friday, the vast majority of racers had taken their 24 hour layovers. Three others dealt with the white-out, wind, and cold by bringing their dogs into the warmth of shelters to weather the storm, thus breaking Iditarod rules dogs can't shelter inside during the race unless they are being seen by a vet. Six mushers behind Sass bowed out. He passed a resting Seavey on the trail between Ophir and Cripple, taking over the lead and never giving it up. Brent Sass continues to set the pace in Iditarod 2022. Sass mushed down Front Street and across the finish line just before 6 a.m. Its awesome, its a dream come true, Sass said before he was presented the prize-winning check of $50,000, his beard and mustache partially encased in ice during the post-race interview. It's awesome, it's a dream come true, Sass said with his beard and mustache partially encrusted in ice during the post-race interview before he was presented a prize-winning check of $50,000. Reitan had been racing competitively but cautiously,with the intent of ensuring her team of young dogs finished the race. There are not a whole lot of Native mushers left up here in the North. The title came with a check for $50,000. Sass crossed the finish line first, despite also getting blown off the trail by a ground blizzard on the last leg to Nome, Alaska.

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