Brett Bruggeman, a dentist from Great Falls, scratched from the 2019 Iditarod sled dog race Tuesday.
According to Skinny Leg Sled Dogs’ Facebook post, trouble hit the team between the Unalakleet and Shaktoolik checkpoints. The weather was warm and they battled a huge storm that was so fierce the trail markers had blown down.
Brett and his team passed the Shaktoolik checkpoint because they could not see any markers. Before going too far past, long-time Iditarod racer Martin Buser, who also got lost in the storm, yelled at Bruggeman to stop.
The extreme winds from the storm had taken all of the energy out of the dogs and they would not eat, according to Skinny Leg Sled Dogs.
Bruggeman was worried the dogs wouldn’t be able to keep up with the calorie demands required of them and chose to voluntarily scratched from the race.
Bruggeman reported he was stunned the situation took a turn, but felt the dogs’ health and safety were more important than a finish.
According to Iditrod EDU, scratched means the musher decided to leave the race usually out of concern for the team.