Winning sled dogs hit in snowmobile hit-and-run in northern Wisconsin – WCCO

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A snowmobile hit-and-run in northern Wisconsin injured two sled dogs, one of whom raced the Iditarod last year.

Ryan Redington, the Alaskan musher who won the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon in 2018 and 2020, told the Bayfield County Sheriff’s Office on Saturday that he was out with his dogs when a snowmobile driver allegedly turned near him, sped up and hit his team.

The dogs were running on the Tri-County Corridor Trail. It was around 6:45 p.m. and all the dogs were wearing flashing or reflective harnesses.

Redington said he tilted his sled to avoid the collision, but the Wildfire wheel dog was tossed through the air. He ended up with his leg broken in three places. Another dog, Willy, who led the Redington team to victory in the 2021 Kobuk440, survived with a bruised front leg. The snowmobile driver stopped for a moment, then accelerated.

Redington’s training partner, Sarah Keefer, was leading her team a few minutes behind and encountered the same handler, who approached his dogs but allegedly swerved at the last second, narrowly avoiding another accident.

Keefer then caught up with Redington and the two called for help.

Forest fire, after surgery (Credit: Redington Mushing)

Wildfire underwent surgery on Tuesday to repair his broken leg. Redington wrote on Facebook that the 3-year-old has a “long road to recovery”. He was part of the winning team for the 2021 Iditarod Jr. and finished the 2021 846-mile Iditarod in seventh place.

Willy is limping, but should be able to return to training in two to three weeks.

A GoFundMe to help with Wildfire’s surgery costs raised around $37,000 Wednesday morning.

Bette C. Alvarado