What could have been an unfortunate turn of events for Kasilof musher Paul Gebhardt in the Iditarod Sled Dog Race may turn out to be an interesting side note.
Gebhardt was in the lead when he hit a tree early Tuesday. His team kept running, causing the steel-core rope connecting them to the sled to snap, and off they went across Farewell Lake. Gebhardt hiked a couple of miles along the trail until Doug Swingley came by and gave him a lift. Swingley dropped Gebhardt off with some buffalo hunters on snowmachines, who gave him a lift to his dogs still running 10 miles from where the crash took place.
Gebhardt was expected to be penalized for what’s considered “outside help.” However, race officials have decided not to penalize him, saying the rules stipulate that a musher do everything possible to secure their team should it break loose during the race.
In other words, the dogs’ safety comes before all else, and that was foremost on Gebhardt’s mind, to get the dogs back under his control.
As of Thursday evening, Gebhardt had climbed back into the lead.
Our other Kenai Peninsula mushers are William Hanes of Kasilof (14th), Lance Mackey of Kasilof (16th), 2004 Iditarod-winner Mitch Seavey of Seward (26th), Tim Osmar of Ninilchik (63rd), Danny Seavey of Seward (67th) and Trent Herbst of Homer (77th).
We wish all the mushers a safe journey to the burled arch in Nome.
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