Alaska musher Ryan Redington’s sled dog team struck by snowmachine while training in Wisconsin
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Iditarod veteran and Knik musher Ryan Redington was involved in a hit-and-run snowmachine incident Saturday evening while on a training run with his sled dogs near Iron River, Wisconsin.
Getting his world-class dogs tuned up for the upcoming Iditarod, Redington and another mushing team of his dogs were running on a multi-purpose corridor trail in northern Wisconsin when an approaching snowmachine allegedly veered toward Redington’s team, striking multiple dogs and knocking Redington off of the sled.
“Yesterday while I was mushing my dog team on the corridor a snowmobile purposely went on to he left side of the trail at a high rate of speed and struck multiple dogs and two dogs have broken legs,” Redington wrote in a post to the Bayfield County Snowmobile Alliance Facebook page.
He and his team were on the Tri-County Corridor trail in Bayfield County.
“Accidents happen, but first I thought, ‘okay, this person didn’t stop to help,’” Quince Mountain, a fellow Iditarod musher, Wisconsin resident and friend of Redington said over the phone.
Redington said in his initial Facebook post that he has filed a police report.
“My understanding is that the snowmachiner then slowed down, or stopped, turned around and looked back, and then just zoomed off,” Mountain said.
“Ryan described it ... it was almost like trying to taunt him, or trying to play chicken, or something,” he continued. “You know, veered toward him, on this big straight away — wide trail, plenty of room to go by, you know — but steered the machine toward Ryan, and then maybe tried to veer away. But then at that point, hit the dogs, sent the dogs ... flying through the air.
Redington’s 3-year-old wheel dog, Wildfire, who ran the 2021 Iditarod trail to a seventh-place finish, broke his leg in three places, while Willy, a part of the 2021 Kobuk440 championship team, suffered lacerations and a bruised foreleg, according to the GoFundMe page set up by Redington’s training partner.
According to the recounting of the incident told by the training partner and by Mountain, Redington and his team were wearing head lamps and reflective gear.
“I’ve mushed with these dogs, I’ve mushed with Ryan with my own team like, behind him on these same trails,” Mountain said. “... He’s got some excellent, well-trained dogs. Redington dogs are about the best you can get.”
Redington, 39, has competed in 14 Iditarod races and is currently signed up to compete in the 50th running on March 5. He is the grandson of Joe Redington Sr., known as the “Father of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.”
“The irony here, the terrible, sick irony, is all the work that Ryan’s grandfather, Joe Redington Sr., did to make a place for these sled dogs ... He was a man with a lot of ideas and totally willing to share the trail across multiple sports,” Mountain added. “And I know, I try to remind myself, and I’ve heard Ryan say it publicly, that this doesn’t reflect on, you know, other snowmachiners, but I certainly hope that they help find ... whoever this is and can bring them to some semblance of justice. I sure would like to tell them what that means.”
No arrests have been made and no description of the driver or the snowmachine was given, according to television station KBJR. Mountain mentioned a $500 reward has been donated for any individual who can provide information on the incident to Bayfield County Sheriff’s Office.
“To (Redington) it seems, you know, maybe not personal, but ... definitely did it on purpose,” Mountain said.
The GoFundMe campaign for veterinary care reached and surpassed it’s $9,000 goal in less than an hour, and any additional funds will go to Redington Mushing.
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