Quest mushers protest penalties

Posted: Wednesday, February 26, 2003

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Two mushers who were disciplined during the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race are protesting their penalties.

Dave Milne of Two Rivers and fellow rookie Martin Massicotte of Quebec both received penalties that cost them a place.

The six-hour penalty Massicotte received for outside assistance was tacked on at the end of the race and moved him from sixth to seventh place, a difference of $1,000.

Milne received a two-hour penalty for rude behavior and served the time in Dawson City, Yukon. He finished an hour and half behind Kelley Griffin in 14th place.

Race Marshal Mel Besharah imposed the two penalties. He said he didn't actually see the infractions, but other race officials did and passed them along to him.

Massicotte said he was told he was penalized for getting outside help at the Mile 101 dog drop.

Massicotte's wife, Marie-Josee Dulong, said the dog drop manager, Paul Kamper, put three pairs of mittens, given to Massicotte by fellow mushers John Schandelmeier and William Kleedehn, on Massicotte's sled. But she said a veterinarian thought the mittens were from Dulong.

Then Massicotte went to a cabin to have a doctor look at his fingers for signs of frostbite. Massicotte wore his handler's jacket for the walk, leaving his own coat to dry.

Milne was penalized for being crabby with the checker at Pelly Crossing. Milne said he parked his dog team to give them a snack before he checked in. Milne snapped at the checker, according to race officials. Milne says that's not what happened.

The race rules committee will decide whether the penalties stand.

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