780 AM | 96.1 FM | “Yours for Western Alaska”

First Scratch of 2018 Yukon Quest, Moore Maintains Lead Out of Circle Checkpoint

Katherine Keith tending to her dogs in Kaltag before departing for Unalakleet.

8am Update:

Katherine Keith of Kotzebue is the latest musher to scratch from the 2018 Yukon Quest. According to a statement from Quest staff, Keith broke her wrist on the trail and elected to stop racing around 7:40am this morning at the Circle checkpoint.

After the first day and a half of racing, veteran musher Mike Ellis also scratched from the race. Quest staff say Ellis made the decision around 2pm yesterday citing the health and well-being of his team.

Looking at the remaining field of 24 mushers, leading the pack is 2013 Quest champion Allen Moore, who was the first one out of the Circle checkpoint. According to the leaderboard, Moore embarked on the 160-mile stretch to Eagle just after 7:00am this morning. Last year’s winner, Matt Hall has spent the last five hours at the Circle checkpoint and currently holds second position.

Paige Drobny, Laura Neese, and Ed Hopkins maintain third through fifth positions respectively. The highest positioned rookie is currently Vebjorn Aishana Reitan who checked into Circle just before 7am this morning. Reitan, the son of Iditarod musher Ketil Reitan, dropped his first dog in Central, bringing his team to 13 total as he maintains eighth position.

The leaderboard shows Western Alaska competitor, Ike Underwood of Aniak, is currently in 21st position after leaving Central at 6:00am.