Yukon Quest leaders heading for Dawson City

Posted: Thursday, February 14, 2002

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Front-runners in the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog race were making their way to Dawson City Thursday morning.

Fifteen mushers had left Eagle for the 150-mile run to Dawson -- the first checkpoint in the Yukon portion of the race. They were expected to begin arriving Thursday.

Dawson is the halfway point of the race. There, mushers have a mandatory 36-hour layover.

Thomas Tetz and William Kleedehn -- both of Carcross -- were the first to leave the Eagle checkpoint, hitting the trail shortly before 1 p.m. Wednesday. Peter Butteri of Tok followed 24 minutes later and Hans Gatt of Atlin, British Columbia left Eagle shortly after 3 p.m.

Jack Berry of Salcha scratched Wednesday after breaking a runner on his sled. He had hoped a friend would deliver a new one while he waited in Circle City. But bad weather at Eagle Summit prevented the friend from getting through.

There are 31 mushers remaining in the 1,000-mile race from Fairbanks to Whitehorse, where a first-place purse of $30,000 waits. The winner is expected to finish early next week.

Mushers left Fairbanks Saturday.

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