Tennessee National Guardsman drops out of Iditarod

Rodney Whaley, a veteran of 24 years in the Tennessee National Guard, is one of only 102 people in the world to qualify for the 1,159-mile race.

UNALAKLEET, Alaska (AP) -- Franklin, Tenn., native Rodney Whaley has scratched from the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

The Tennessee National Guardsman is the eighth musher to drop out of the field of 86 competitors. He stopped in Cripple, Alaska, with 13 dogs.

Whaley told The Associated Press at his home in Franklin last month that he was hoping to be the first Tennessean to complete the two-week, 1,150-mile race.

Lance Mackey was ahead of the pack early Monday morning, leading defending champion Jeff King by about 44 minutes.

The front-runners take about 10 days to make the trek, so the winner could cross the finish line under Nome's burled arch by Tuesday.


On the Net: www.iditarod.com

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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