Y-K Delta Mushers Take Their Mandatory 24's

Mar 11, 2020

Frosty dogs on Richie Diehl's team in Nikolai.
Credit zachariah Hughes

Six teams are making their way to the Cripple checkpoint on the Iditarod Trail. Cripple is the halfway mark in the race, and the musher who arrives there first gets $3,000 in gold nuggets as a prize. So far, Brent Sass is in the lead.

As the mushers in this group try to get farther ahead before taking their required 24-hour layovers, most of the front-runners are already taking their required rest. Two are in Ophir, but most are resting in Takotna, with Pete Kaiser among them. 

Kaiser says that he has been having a tough time keeping his team focused. A couple of females went into heat, and the males were more interested in their female teammates then in eating and running. At Takotna, Kaiser observed that the dogs are eating better, and was glad to see them refocus on racing and their job on the trail. 

Richie Diehl started his 24-hour rest in Takotna at around 11:30 p.m. on March 10. He and Jessie Royer were the first to arrive there, just minutes apart. When they leave tonight will depend on their start order. Those teams who started the race in the front of the start order will have to wait a bit longer before hitting the trail again. Pete Kaiser will have to wait considerably longer. He arrived in Takotna almost two hours later than Royer and Diehl, and started his 24-hour rest at 1:23 a.m. on March 11. 

Some teams are taking their 24-hour rest back in McGrath, and it's unclear whether Jessica Klejka is going to as well. She arrived there a little before 9 a.m. this morning and was still there as of 4 p.m.