Idita-drama continues, as Eddie Burke Jr. drops out to honor agreements he made to lease team

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The past two weeks has been a twisted trail for the Last Great Race. If having PETA chasing away sponsors wasn’t enough, the internal politics has been a public relations challenge.

First, on Feb. 19, the race’s governing body met in an emergency meeting and disqualified up-and-coming racer Eddie Burke Jr from the 2024 race, which begins with the ceremonial start in Anchorage on March 3, and the actual start from Big Lake on March 4.

The race organization said that two pending assault charges stemming from 2022 against Burke made him not the kind of guy they wanted on the trail. He had violated the race’s personal conduct standard.

Then, two days later, after the Alaska Department of Law dismissed the charges and closed the case, the board reinstated him, with a terse statement.

The board then turned around and disqualified champion racer Brent Sass, due to unsavory allegations from a couple of women regarding sexual conduct that they said was nonconsensual. No charges are pending in those matters.

Now, just six days before the race start, Eddie Burke Jr. has withdrawn himself. He made his decision known on his Facebook page, explaining that after he had been disqualified, he had agreed to let other racers run some of his team, and he wants to honor the commitments he made.

Burke, a former amateur boxer and truck driver, finished seventh in the 2023 Iditarod, and was named Rookie of the Year.

“Due to recent events, I made the decision to lease out my race team to six individual mushers, competing in this years Iditarod. At the time, my main focus was letting dogs do what they love. Over the past 7 months, the dogs and I have put in over 2,000 miles on the trail and countless hours of preperation. Traveling to Nome is what this team deserves, even if that means traveling the trail without me,” Burke wrote on his Facebook page on Monday.

“After being reinstated, it has been a challenge to gather my team back together and prepare for the race. This has not only been difficult for me but also the mushers I have made agreements with. After tough consideration, I have made the decision to withdraw from this years race and honor the agreements I have made with my fellow mushers,” he wrote.

“This was not a easy decision to make but I am excited to watch my team travel the trail. There will always be another dog race and I never plan to be out of dogs. I look forward to cheering on my friends, running the few dogs left at the kennel, and most importantly, spending time with family. Thank you to all of my fans, sponsors and supporters. Your kind words and support has made it possible to work through these difficult times.”

Meanwhile, Sass has vehemently denied the accusations made against him.

Sass has won the Yukon Quest three times and won the 50th running of the Iditarod in 2022. He received the Vet’s Choice award in 2015 and 2019 for the way he took care of his team.

The two mushers leaving the race this year leaves 38 teams. This is up from the 33 teams that ran in 2023, which was the lowest number in the race’s history, reflecting the hardship many mushers suffered from the Covid pandemic policies. In 2019, before the pandemic, 52 mushers and over 1,000 dogs participated.

Read more about the twisted trail of these recent events at Craig Medred’s website.

20 COMMENTS

  1. This is part of an active plot to destroy the Iditarod. The organization has leftists on the board of directors who are hell bent on removing all men from the race and making it a “womens only” club. Who allowed PETA to set up shop at the Iditarod a few years back? Who led the decision on this to remove Sass over rumors? There’s members on the board with connections to Planned Parenthood and the Wasilla medical industry who are coordinating this effort. Sadly, these leftist women only want power and will end up destroying the Iditarod. They’re already strugging with a small pool of mushers and that number will continue to dwindle and evaporate as mushers drop out due to not wanting to be involved with a garbage organization, and interest wanes in watching just women race.

    This could have all been avoided with strong leadership, but the Iditarod has failed over and over again with weak leadership. They also mandated that everyone involved, including volunteers, get vaccinated to participate. Look who the largest donor is to the Iditarod and things start to line up.

    Everyone on the board needs to be fired with the individual leftists sued by Sass for character/career assassination through slander, and also sued for forcing the vaccine.

    Burn it all down and get real leadership cause Alaska really doesn’t have anything else exciting to offer.

    • The victim likely did not want to testify so the state dropped the charges and there were two assault charges against Burke Jr.
      Republicans are more law and order and Democrats seem to be more lenient on crime.

  2. The internal politics is why I no longer interested in Fur Rondy nor Iditarod. It’s a child’s event now because of the teenage childish politics at work.

  3. I want names and photos of these two women who joined elbows to state those unsavory offenses they received from Sass—that way, men (and women) everywhere will steer clear of them. If/when it all goes away (since their possible goal of him getting kicked out is now met), they too can feel some of the heat they think they laid on with the usual impunity.
    And yes, I know. WHAT IF ITS TRUE?!! Well, right now, it is an allegation. And too many of those allegations over the years have been proven to be lies. Blame those lying women for seeding the present doubt in our society every time a prominent person gets an accusation.

  4. It was only a matter of time before blue Alaska came for the Last Great Race.

    It’s funny how the “progress of progressives” destroys everything it comes in contact with.

  5. Emotional decision making generally issues forth from…

    Brent Sass was convicted of NOTHING, and taken down on mere accusations. That is NOT the way things are supposed to be in America. But guilty until proven innocent has developed quite a franchise, and it is executed from the top down.

    The cultural revolution will not be overcome by averting your eyes. You are going to have to fight it with every ounce of energy you have. There will be no rest. if you don’t cross the finish line exhausted, you didn’t work hard enough.

  6. This article perfectly summarizes Alaska’s laissez-faire attitude toward crimes against women. Y’all don’t care and don’t want to hear about it as long as men are in the game. When an organization says no to abusers, you attack it.

    • “Alaska’s laissez-faire attitude toward crimes against women”? What utter nonsense.
      If there is no evidence or not enough evidence for the law to pursue it then it is and should be a NON ISSUE. Through the “Me Too” movement we have learned that women are quite capable of using lies to manipulate laws and get attention or revenge.
      I have no idea if the claims are true, but until I do there can be no action taken. For now, it’s just a claim without evidence. Think Christine Margaret Blasey Ford a woman who should be in prison or a mental hospital for the proven false statements she made.

      • Utter nonsense you say ? How many AG’s had Dunleavy cycled through now ? The former Mayor of the Kenai Borough, a darling of this blog, was forced to resign over his bad conduct.

        On and on and on. If a former Mayor of Anchorage does something tawdry, then it’s all legit, but heaven forbid if a sympathetic character like Burke chokes his GF, the CONservatives whine like little babies about how oppressed they are.

  7. It’s time for the Iditarod to die. There is not an adult with a brain anywhere in Iditarod management or in their Board of Directors. The dysfunction of the Iditarod is an embarrassment to Alaska. This is the last straw. It’s not worth saving.

  8. Fools. PETA and others want to the Iditarod to stop. The ITC goes overboard banning and unbanning mushers like Burke, or completely banning Sass – not to mention the bogus accusations against Dallas Seavey a few years ago. The ITC is providing the gasoline that fuels the fire and PETA is leaning back in their collective chair snickering like the kid who set up his classmates. I remember Alaska before the Iditarod. Looks like I’ll get to see it after the Iditarod. It is truly becoming the last great race. Nice work, ITC.

  9. I do not like the Iditarod. I think it’s dumb. Been here decades, too….

    But what I really hate is people who are punished before found guilty of an allegation.

    That is simply unAmerican.

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