— -- Of all the things that could get a musher disqualified from the grueling event that is the Iditarod, the last thing Brent Sass expected was for his iPod Touch.
Many mushers use iPods during the annual race in Alaska, which stretches more than 1,000 miles from Anchorage to Nome, however Sass' downfall was bringing the iPod Touch version, which is capable of connecting to Wi-Fi.
"I didn't use it and I had zero intent of using it for a Wi-Fi connection in checkpoints, but I was just completely clueless," he told Alaska Public Radio. "I mean, I gave my dad my cell phone because I knew you couldn't have cell phones on this race specifically and I was just ignorant."
Sass was in fifth place with his team of dogs when he was disqualified Tuesday. The Yukon Quest Champion reiterated to his fans that he had no intention of cheating on the course.
Iditarod officials were sympathetic to Sass' issue but had to enforce Rule 35 of the competition, which prohibits two-way communication devices, according to a statement from the race director Mark Nordman.
Mushers are allowed to carry one-way communication devices with satellite tracking that can be used in the event of an emergency. If the device is activated, a musher is automatically withdrawn from the competition.