780 AM | 96.1 FM 

“YOURS FOR WESTERN ALASKA”

(907) 443-5221

Reigning Iditarod champ Brent Sass drops out of race over health concerns

Brent Sass talks with a checkpoint official in Grayling on Friday, March 10. (Lex Treinen/Alaska Public Media)

This article by Ben Matheson was originally published by Alaska Public Media. It was republished with permission through a partnership with KNOM.

Defending Iditarod champion Brent Sass has scratched from the 2023 race in Eagle Island due to health concerns.

Iditarod officials said in a statement that Sass felt he could not properly care for his team due to his personal “periodontal health.” Periodontal issues typically refer to problems associated with gum disease.

His 11-dog team is in good health, according to the statement, which said Sass officially scratched at 7:42 a.m. Saturday.

An Iditarod Insider video said a plane was headed to Eagle Island to get Sass off the trail. The checkpoint is nearly 600 miles into the race, located on a remote stretch of the Yukon River between Grayling and Kaltag.

Sass was the first team to pull into Eagle Island at 9:38 p.m. Friday, but he never left the checkpoint.

Reached by phone in Nome on Saturday, Sass’s father, Mark Sass, said he was still waiting to hear more about what had happened.

“Yeah, I’m pretty sad, but it is what it is,” he said. “I just want him to be OK.”

This is the second scratch of this year’s Iditarod. Rookie Jennifer LaBar scratched in Rainy Pass on Monday.

Thirty-one teams remained in the race as of Saturday morning. 

Sass claimed his first Iditarod championship in 2022, mushing to the win after his sled, with a broken runner, tumbled down a hill during an intense windstorm in the final stretches of trail. His team was able to find their way just in time, before five-time champ Dallas Seavey could catch up.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Image at top: Brent Sass talks with a checkpoint official in Grayling on Friday, March 10. (Lex Treinen/Alaska Public Media)

Share this story

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Email

Recent Posts

MS Westerdam Passengers Recall Icy Approach to Nome

Holland America’s MS Westerdam has arrived in Nome. The cruise ship that holds over 1,900 passengers is anchored just off the coast of Nome, too big to dock in the port. Small tenders that hold about 80 passengers each are ferrying visitors to and from the shore throughout the day.

Read More »

First-Ever KNOM Radio Music Fest Draws a Crowd, Drives Donations

Selma Casagranda serenaded audience members with a few of her original songs. Casagranda is from Seward and one of four finalists from KNOM’s 2023 American Idol search. Audience members joined the King Island dance group for an invitational dance. One of KNOM’s 2023 American Idol search finalists, Martin Paul of

Read More »

June 20: Rick Thoman’s Climate Highlight for Western Alaska

The following is a transcript from Rick Thoman’s weekly “Climate Highlight for Western Alaska” provided to KNOM Radio. Thoman is a Climate Specialist with the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The largest wildfire on the Seward Peninsula since 2019, the Goldbug Fire,

Read More »

More

Newsletter:

Work for Us:

Jobs

Contact

Nome:

(907) 443-5221 

Anchorage:

(907) 868-1200 

Land Acknowledgement

We acknowledge that KNOM Radio Mission is located on the customary lands of Indigenous peoples. 

Based in the Bering Strait region, KNOM broadcasts throughout the homelands of the Iñupiaq, Siberian Yup’ik, Cup’ik and Yup’ik peoples.