Chatanika’s Dan Kaduce claims Summit Quest 300 victory

Published: Feb. 16, 2021 at 1:32 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Dan Kaduce and his nine Alaskan Huskies trotted across the Central finish line at 7:02 p.m. Monday night to win the Summit Quest 300, a mid-distance race hosted by the Yukon Quest. The 44-year-old Quest veteran departed from the Circle checkpoint 16 minutes ahead of Fairbanks musher Deke Naaktgeboren for a 74-mile dash to the finish. Naaktgeboren and his team of 10 sled dogs reached Central at 7:26 p.m. for a runner-up placement.

Kaduce and his Summit Quest Champion dogs are preparing for the 1,000-mile Iditarod on March 6, his third attempt since 2010 when he won Rookie of the Year. The Dew Claw Kennel (Chatanika) Musher competed in his first of six Quests in 2003, most recently in 2013 and most notably in 2004 with a 6th place finish.

Crossing the finish line with 12 dogs less than an hour after the champion was Fairbanks veteran Hugh Neff at 7:49 p.m. Neff returned to the race this year following a suspension handed down by the Quest Board after the death of one his dogs on the 2018 Yukon Quest trail that the Board says was preventable. Neff won the 1,000-mile Yukon Quest in 2012 and 2016.

The final musher to reach Central before midnight and the first rookie to complete the race was Willow’s Adam Lindenmuth at 11:17 p.m. A sprint to round out the top five was a difference of just two minutes, as North Pole veteran Ben Good (12:35 a.m. Tuesday) edged out Nenana rookie Eddie Burke Jr. (12:37 a.m.). Good ran the full Yukon Quest in 2017, placing 13th.

Also representing Dew Claw Kennel, Jodi Bailey, wife of Kaduce, checked into Central at about 2:30 a.m., according to the Summit Quest 300 Facebook page. Tuesday for seventh place. Bailey took seventh in the 2011 Yukon Quest, her only attempt at the international race. With nearly a six-hour gap until the next musher, Fairbanks rookie Dan Powell finished at 8:07 a.m. with nine dogs harnessed.

Willow’s Misha Wiljes hit Central at 1:07 p.m. Tuesday, before Fairbanks’ Leigh Pagel (3:19 p.m.) and Two Rivers’ Lauo Eklund (4:15 p.m.).

Brigett Watkins, daughter of three-time Yukon Quest Champion Allen Moore, reached the finish at 8:05 p.m. Tuesday with 12 dogs. Watkins was the second musher to complete the 300-mile race with 12 dogs, following Neff’s third place team.

Rolling into the finish at 2:22 a.m. Wednesday morning was Fairbanks rookie Philip Hanke.

“If I am not going to get first, second, third or a prize, I would like to come home with the Red Lantern, and that way I have another Red Lantern to keep at home.” Hanke told KTVF at musher signups in October.

And sure enough, as the 13th and final musher, Hanke earned the Red Latern Award as the last team to finish.

Those who scratched along the trail include Huslia rookie D.J. Starr and Fairbanks veteran Tabitha Hughes, who both scratched at the Central checkpoint. Rookie Kai Leddy, of Talkeetna, scratched at the Mile 101 checkpoint, while the lone out-of-state musher, Marla Brodsky of West Chesterfield, Massachusetts, scratched at Central. Fairbanks’ Vickie Justice scratched at the Circle checkpoint.

PlaceNameFromExp.Date - Time
1.Dan KaduceChatanika, AKVeteran2/15 - 19:02
2.Deke NaaktgeborenFairbanks, AKVeteran2/15 - 19:26
3.Hugh NeffFairbanks, AKVeteran2/15 - 19:44
4.Adam LindenmuthWillow, AKRookie2/15 - 23:17
5.Ben GoodNorth Pole, AKVeteran2/16 - 00:35
6.Eddie Burke Jr.Nenana, AKRookie2/16 - 00:37
7.Jodi BaileyChatanika, AKVeteran2/16 - ~ 02:30
8.Dan PowellFairbanks, AKRookie2/16 - 08:07
9.Misha WiljesWillow, AKVeteran2/16 - 13:07
10.Leigh PagleFairbanks, AKRookie2/16 - 15:19
11.Lauro EklundTwo Rivers, AKRookie2/16 - 16:15
12.Bridgett WatkinsFairbanks, AKRookie2/16 - 20:05
13.Philip HankeFairbanks, AKRookie2/17 - 02:22
SVickie JusticeFairbanks, AKRookieCentral
SD.J. StarrHuslia, AKRookieCentral
STabitha HughesFairbanks, AKVeteranCentral
SMarla BrodskyWest Chesterfield, MARookieCircle
SKai LeddyTalkeetna, AKRookieMile 101

The Summit Quest 300 was the Yukon Quest’s way to keep the race’s legacy alive. The COVID-altered race began at the Pleasant Valley Store on Saturday, before completing a 40-mile loop back to the Pleasant Valley Community Center. From there, the trail followed the traditional Yukon Quest 300 route; to the Mile 101 checkpoint, over Eagle Summit and into Central, before heading to Circle and rerouting back to Central for the finish.

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