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2015 CopperDog Race Dates

After long meetings, we have selected our 2015 race dates, which don't conflict with local events and other races throughout the Midwest. We want to thank the UP 200 for collaborating with us and being flexible in their dates!

6th Annual CopperDog 150 Save the Date
February 27-March 1, 2015

We can not wait to see you all return again and also welcome all the new faces to this family fun winter event, featuring the spectacular Keweenaw Peninsula

posted on 4/27/2014 8:00 PM by Meredith LaBeau | permalink | Back to Top

CopperDog Race Dates from 2015 to 2020

The Board of Directors are pleased to announce that in collaboration with the UP 200 we have set our race dates from 2015 to 2020. As a race we acknowledge we continually delay to announce our dates until after each race season. This year, we have remedied that situation so you can make plans to join us many years into the future. I personally want to thank each and every one of our supporters and stakeholders for making this such a great event for the Keweenaw Peninsula and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

2015: February 27-March 1 

2016: February 26-28 

2017: March 3-5 

2018: March 2-4 

2019: March 1-3

2020: February 28-March 1

These dates represent the commitment we all have towards this great family fun event, so start marking your calendars!

posted on 4/28/2014 6:45 PM by Meredith LaBeau | permalink | Back to Top

And the 2014 Volunteer Photo Winners Are

If you were unable to attend the CopperDog After Party tonight you missed the opportunity to be a judge in the second annual Volunteer Photograph contest!

All of our volunteers were urged to submit their very “best” photos, that they felt captured the essence of CopperDog. While many photos were submitted, it appears that our volunteers love one the sled dogs and their volunteers! The best photo was an even tie between these four-legged athletes and sunbathing CopperDog style!

Logan Johnson tied with Larry Malloy for best photo. Logan Johnson's photo exhibits how CopperDog volunteers enjoy sunbathing at a road crossing (shown below).


Larry Malloy submitted a photo that accurately captures the weather during the race and how most of these dogs must feel about the racing... “I just need to keep moving through this wind”! Both gentleman win a free CopperDog shirt.

Congratulations to our winners and thanks to all the volunteers who submitted some great shots. Keep practicing those photo skills and you may get that winning shot next year!

posted on 3/21/2014 10:27 PM by Meredith LaBeau | permalink | Back to Top

2014 CopperDog 150 The After Party


It's time to put on your party hats and let CopperDog give you a round of applause! CopperDog is hosting its annual Volunteer Thank You Party, Friday March 21, from 7:00-9:00 pm in the Calumet Theatre ballroom. And we need YOU to be there so we can give you a high five and a huge "Thank You!" Volunteers are why CopperDog exists - we literally cannot do this without every single one of our marvelous volunteers. Volunteers are the backbone of CopperDog. So come party with us on March 21. We'll be serving refreshments/finger foods and showing 5th year anniversary of race videos.

We would also like to create a photo montage of volunteer photos - the photos you took at the event. The ones YOU took of the dogs, of your friends smiling bravely as their feet froze solid, the one of your friend on his butt as a dog dragged him off, I'm sure you get the idea. Please send your photos to Meredith LaBeau no later than Tuesday, March 18.

So come join us March 21, and help us celebrate YOU. CopperDog: we can't do it without you. (And we don't want to celebrate without you!)

posted on 3/11/2014 10:51 AM by Meredith LaBeau | permalink | Back to Top

2014 CopperDog 150 Final Results

Click here for FULL 2014 Results

posted on 3/1/2014 2:10 AM by Meredith LaBeau | permalink | Back to Top

2014 CopperDog 150 Live Feed Calumet Finish

Live Video Feed from downtown Calumet

Sunday, March 2, 11:45AM - 2:30PM

Live Twitter Feed

Click here for a live twitter feed as mushers pass through crossings.

posted on 2/28/2014 4:24 PM by | permalink | Back to Top

2014 CopperDog 150 Stage 2 Results

Click here for FULL Stage 2 Results!

posted on 3/12/2014 2:10 AM by Meredith LaBeau | permalink | Back to Top

2014 CopperDog 150 Stage 1 Results

Click here for FULL Stage 1 Results!

posted on 3/1/2014 2:10 AM by Meredith LaBeau | permalink | Back to Top

2014 CopperDog 40 Results

Click here for CopperDog 40 Full Results (PDF Download)

posted on 3/1/2014 2:10 AM by Meredith LaBeau | permalink | Back to Top

The 2014 CopperDog 150 is Finally Here!

5, 4, 3, 2 , 1, READY… GO!

Are you ready for a Dog Race?! (Imagine that set to some cool music sort of like Hank Williams Jr’s infamous Monday night Football theme)

That’s right folks we are here- at the point where the real fun begins. Friday, February 28, bright and early, the Keweenaw will start to see trucks arrive, housing some very elite 4- legged athletes. Mushers, along with their dog handlers, who are not only looking for some prize money, but the chance to travel over our beautiful Keweenaw in one of the oldest and coolest modes of transport through the snow.

Vet checks, where each animal is meticulously examined by a team of skilled Veterinarians and their assistants, will start bright and early Friday morning.

CopperDog Volunteers will be in “go mode” and downtown Calumet will be transformed into a race showplace. A snow road will be laid down the middle of 5th Street so people can watch these teams depart Friday night, heading out into the snow covered terrain for a race filled with challenging twists, turns, and elevations. Merchants will be readying their shops for all the visitors that will be flooding the streets of Calumet Friday night during the Main Street Calumet street party.

Music, food, and dogs all come together to create an event that will suck you into the excitement of sled dog racing.

The 5th Annual CopperDog 150 has arrived. And I can tell you personally, this volunteer is exhausted, a little nervous, a little stressed, but…. so excited I cannot see straight!

So join us, Friday at 6:30 pm for the opening ceremonies, and a chance to see an event that is becoming bigger than any of us could have imagined.

posted on 2/28/2013 4:41 PM by Meredith LaBeau | permalink | Back to Top

CopperDog Adds $500 Purse To "Doghouse Races"


REGISTRATION at 11:00AM on Saturday, March 1st, 2014 in downtown Calumet

Mushers want just three things from a race providing organizations: (1) an event, (2) a safe fast trail and (3) a little money on the line to make things interesting. CopperDog is borrowing from mushers thinking and applying these three basic rules to the new "Doghouse" race to take place in downtown Calumet on Saturday, March 1 at 11:30AM.

1st Place ............ $250
2nd Place .......... $100
3rd Place ........... $75
Fan Favorite ...... $75

But there's a catch... there must be at least 3 teams competing in the race for the prize money to be awarded. Here's an easy way to make $250, just build a doghouse, put together a team, get a few friends to do the same and your'e in the money (If your'e fast enough that is)!


To participate in the Doghouse Race, you must construct a doghouse following the Doghouse Race rules. Each team must consist of one person riding in the doghouse with up to eight people pulling the doghouse.

Do you have a friendly competition within the community? Challenge your rival to construct a wonder of modern doghouse technology! The greater the architecture and creative your team name, the greater your chance to win fan favorite doghouse! Assemble your team of “dogs” to pull your house to glory and bragging rights!

Doghouses will be judged prior to the race by the crowd at large to determine the winner of fan favorite doghouse. The overall race winner will be determined by individual timed heats down the snow road of Calumet. The race includes: one block run, a dog bone toss where the team must sink three bones into a dog dish in order to proceed, followed by a final one block run to the finish line.

Registration will be accept right up to the start of the race on Saturday at 11:00AM!  No excuses! Get your house build and your team put together and come out and win some money.

If you have any questions on the race or entry, please contact our lead organizer Heather at Thank your for your time, and we hope to see your team on the snow road!

2014 CopperDog 150
Saturday Event Committee

posted on 1/24/2014 10:45 PM by Todd Brassard | permalink | Back to Top

2014 CopperDog 150 Event Schedule


posted on 2/19/2014 12:02 AM by Meredith LaBeau | permalink | Back to Top

CopperDog - Where River Valley Bank is truly Incredible

The total overall operating costs of the 2014 CopperDog 150 is right around $80,000. With only a small portion of CopperDog revenue coming from competitor registration fees, the vast majority of CopperDog’s income is generated from sponsorships and donations.

The good news is most of the money raised by CopperDog stays right in our community. Some of the money leaves the area as earnings in the race winner’s pockets. And where necessary part of the budget is spent with specialty businesses, like the custom fabricated “bibs” worn by CopperDog competitors and volunteers.

Although the CopperDog board tries very hard to bank and save some money each year for the following season, the revenue and expenses for each race more or less break even. The race takes in just about exactly what it needs to sustain itself each season. And it’s always important to remember that not a single board member, committee member or volunteer takes an income from CopperDog. It’s a pure volunteer organization and effort.

What this does mean is that each and every year the CopperDog Board of Directors must start from square one and stare up at the $80,000 mountain that must be climbed to run the high-profile event we have all come to expect and enjoy.

To our great fortune, there is an organization in our community that provides CopperDog with a solid foundation as we press forward into each new season. This organization, through action and deed, lead by example and breathe the first breaths of life in CopperDog each season. Their belief and trust in our organization and the volunteers who make it great starts the fire that grows to move thousands of hearts and minds by race weekend. This organization is River Valley Bank.

Photo Courtsey of Bill Fink

Five years into CopperDog, River Valley Bank has been unwavering in providing the first $10,000 that fuels CopperDog each season. Five years and $50,000 later, River Valley Bank continues to inspire the CopperDog team which, in turn, rewards their trust and faith by running a world-class event that River Valley Bank can be proud to put its name on.

But it doesn’t stop there. Over the years, CopperDog estimates that River Valley Bank has spent close to $15,000 of additional funds providing a reception for mushers as they arrive into town, colored hats critical to the organization of race officials, veterinarians, coordinators and mushers.

Time and again River Valley Bank has gone above and beyond simply funding the event. Their organization and their employees take pride in taking lead roles CopperDog weekend demonstrating their commitment to the event, their organization and the community where they work, live and play. Their hospitality, belief in community, belief in people and desire to be excellent in everything they do for CopperDog and everyday customers is noticed and appreciated.

River Valley Bank is truly an inspiration to CopperDog and to the community it serves. Thank you River Valley Bank and all the people inside its doors that make it amazing!

posted on 1/29/2014 11:12 PM by Todd Brassard | permalink | Back to Top

Coming Soon! CopperDog Winter Educators Conference!

Would you like to know more about CopperDog, with an eye towards incorporating this great community event into your own classroom and curriculum? Or would you just like to know more about CopperDog? (We welcome curious people with open arms, you don't have to be an educator to attend.)

Then the CopperDog Winter Educators Conference is for YOU! Saturday February 8, 2014, at the Franklin Square Inn in Houghton, from 9:00am until 2:00ish (sled dogs are involved, so it's a little hard to pin it down precisely) we'll be presenting on such topics as how sled dog racing and CopperDog itself got started (social studies), how we determine and map our trail (geography), how we time and track 50 sled dog teams (mathematics), what's going on with a sled dog when it races (biology) ... and, potentially, sled dog rides!

The presentations are designed to provide information about CopperDog and to, hopefully, spark your own creativity as to how you can use this community resource  in your own classroom, business, or just for your personal enjoyment - namely, the next time you see a CopperDog sled team go by, you'll know exactly what's going on: how it got started, how they're following that trail, how they're being tracked and timed, how those dogs are running.

Cost of the conference is $25 and includes breakfast, lunch, and, possibly (if our plans work out), a sled dog ride. Presentations are at the Franklin Square Inn, from 9:00am until lunch. After lunch we'll convene for sled dog rides, so dress appropriately.

TO REGISTER FOR THE CONFERENCE... please send an e-mail to Lesley DuTemple at with the following information:

  • First & Last Name
  • Mailing Address
  • Phone Number
  • E-mail Address
  • School (if you are a teacher)
  • Grade/Subjects (if you are a teacher)
  • What you would like to get out of the conference
  • Any questions or comments you might have

We would like to have all registrations submitted by Wednesday, February 5, but walk ins will most likely be welcome.  Please bring a check for $25 made out to "CopperDog, Inc." to the conference on Saturday, February 8.

posted on by Todd Brassard | permalink | Back to Top

CopperDog Volunteers ... Its Almost Time!

Note: Volunteer registration opens Thursday, January 16 at 8:00AM!

The 2014 CopperDog 150 is rapidly approaching and event organizers are once again reaching out to our most important resource... volunteers from the community.  Our volunteer army is simply amazing, maybe the best in racing today. 

We welcome anyone and everyone both experienced and "newbies" to come and participate in this great event.  Volunteers are the life-blood of the CopperDog 150, every single individual counts and we greatly appreciate your support.

This year we will still be doing our Lead Volunteer program.  The focus of this program is to provide advanced race operations training to a handful (25 - 35) of passionate volunteers who will then serve as leaders and coordinators on race weekend.  This program is open to anybody who is interested in giving more to the CopperDog effort (around 8 to 12 hours) in the weeks leading up to the race and have responsibility for various aspects of the race during the event.

Important Events

Lead Volunteer Training Sessions

  • We are still seeking more passionate volunteers.
  • At the Julita Center in Hancock
  • Saturday, January 25 2014, 11:00am-1:00pm
  • We will be asking for a commitment between 8 to 12 hours in the weeks before the race.
  • Please RSVP to (so we set up enough tables)

Annual Volunteer Drive

  • Sponsors by Aspirus Keweenaw, the Official Volunteer Sponsors of the CopperDog 150.
  • At River Valley Bank, Calumet (on US 41)
  • Saturday, February 1, 2014, 10:00AM - 2:00PM
  • Meeting mushers, pet dogs, treats will be served, learn about the race, volunteer sign-up.

Official CopperDog 150 Volunteer Training Session

  • All volunteers are strongly encouraged to attend this training event.
  • Behind CLK Schools, Calumet in rear parking lot
  • Saturday, February 22, 2014, 11:00PM - 1:00PM
  • 45 minutes of indoor training, demonstration, and discussion
  • 45 minutes of outdoor "hands-on" handling of real dog teams.
  • There will be “hands-on” training with sled dog teams, crossing instructions, and general safety instructions from CopperDog organization members as well as several of our local Mushers.
posted on 1/4/2013 1:44 PM by Meredith LaBeau | permalink | Back to Top

Volunteer Registration Is Open!

Click here to volunteer...

Volunteer registration is now open for the CopperDog 150 and CopperDog 40 sled dog races this coming February 28 -March 2, 2014.  There are literally hundreds of shifts and positions to fill, so we need your help.  Please take a look at the volunteer schedule, find something that suites your liking and sign-up for as many shifts as you want.  Please watch out for conflicts in your schedule.

A few new features...

The volunteer system has some new features.  There are many more jobs listed, including jobs that are by appointment or internal to the race.  You'll have to contact our volunteer coordinator to sign-up for these jobs as they require experience or special gear.  When you sign-up you can also indicate how many people you are bringing with you.  This makes it easy for a family member or leader of a team to include multiple people with their registration, although we strongly encourage people to have their own account and volunteer schedule.

Register a couple, group, or team...

When you register more than just yourself for a volunteer shift, you become responsible to bring all of the people you indicated.  Kids age 14 and over are considered able bodied volunteers, but there must be at least one adult (18+) on each shift.  Kids 13 and younger are welcome to volunteer, but do not count towards the minimum number of volunteers that must be present.  Volunteering is fun for the entire family, we just need to make sure that our bases or covered to provide a safe event for all.

There might be bugs...

The volunteer system is still a little buggy and might blow up in your face from time to time.  Please let us know if this happens to you, if the system doesn't work as expect, or you just have ideas on how to improve it.  Send an e-mail to Todd Brassard with a description of the problem.  Cut and paste the error if you can.  Thanks for using our online system to volunteer for CopperDog!

posted on 1/14/2013 10:48 AM by Todd Brassard | permalink | Back to Top

The Volunteer Feature Video

For a limited time we are offering a FREE Viewing of "The Volunteer (at the CopperDog 150)" which is available for purchase as a digital download, VOD or DVD (Visit for details).

For the CopperDog 150 "The Volunteer" is a most valuable resource. This is a look at the 2013 CopperDog 150 Sled Dog Race and some of the volunteers who made it possible. Includes interviews from race officials and board members who provide a unique insight into what it takes to make the CopperDog 150 one of the top races in the country.

A Defined Visuals Production (
Format 720p HD
Runtime: Approx. 37 minutes

To purchase a DVD, digital download or VOD visit:

posted on 12/27/2013 7:18 PM by Todd Brassard | permalink | Back to Top

"Spirit of the Trail", A CopperDog Coffee Blend

Winter has come on strong this year in the Copper Country.  With over 100+ inches of snowfall already in December, relentless winds and single digit temperatures, people are cold!  Some people... are altogether too cold!

Although we all know that a solid winter season is important for our community (tourism and all), it doesn't mean we have to be cold all the time.  Something can be done about it.  And something has been done about!

Keweenaw Coffee Works has come to the rescue, partnering with CopperDog to create "Spirit of the Trail", a limited edition coffee blend roasted exclusively for fans of CopperDog (and fans of fantastic coffee)!

With an origin of Chiapas, La Concorida - Mexico, "Spirit of the Trail" features hints of dark chocolate, caramel, toffee and cinnamon.  Roasted fresh by Valerie Baciak and Nate Shuttleworth, this unique blend is sure fire delight for your taste buds and protection from the deep could of a Keweenaw winter.

"Spirit of the Trail" is on sale now at River Valley Bank and Keweenaw Coffee Works, in downtown Calumet on 5th Street.  The price is $15.00/lbs and all proceeds raised go directly towards the CopperDog operating budget.

posted on 12/20/2013 12:18 AM by Todd Brassard | permalink | Back to Top

Teacher on the Trail, A New CopperDog Blog!


Lynn Witte is CopperDog’s first ever Teacher on the Trail and is a true teacher on the mushing trail. As a elementary school teacher AND an active musher, she will be reporting in throughout the year, detailing her training, animal husbandry, and keeping us informed about how she prepares for a race. And as a musher participating in the CopperDog 40, she will be writing about her experiences during the actual race, February 28, 2014.

Lynn Witte, races out of White Thunder Kennel of Luther, MI. She got hooked on mushing by going to the Iditarod in Alaska. She is a school teacher who also enjoys canoe racing, cross country skiing and skijoring. Her leaders are Puddle who is pretty smart and Timber who has good experience.

A team of local teachers is also doing a Teacher on the Trail project with CopperDog. Throughout the year this team of Teachers on the Trail will be reporting on CopperDog activities, creating curriculum and other projects for school teachers to use in their own classrooms, and helping CopperDog expand its educational outreach.

Please follow Lynn's blog for great stories!

posted on 12/20/2013 12:50 AM by Todd Brassard | permalink | Back to Top

Exciting Trail Changes for the CopperDog 150

They say a picture is worth a thousand words…what about this picture. For all you returning CopperDog mushers, what does this picture signify to you

After much consternation, thought, and research (as seen in the faces of our CopperDog volunteers including executive director, trail boss, race director, safety director and assistant race director), we are excited to announce that a trail change for the 2014 CopperDog 150 is in order! The State Police Tower loop on Stage 2 will be removed this year and replaced with a trail that has similar elevation changes and mileage, but can be more consistently groomed. Many of the returning mushers will remember this trail as being quite challenging with knee-deep snow at times. The new loop, the Hoar Lake loop will present its own new challenges, but it also allows us to better groom for “happy, healthy dogs”. We are very pleased to share this exciting news with you as we gear up here in the North Country for another fun-filled winter and CopperDog 150.

posted on 11/9/2013 3:36 PM by Meredith LaBeau | permalink | Back to Top

Original Folk Rock Show in Support of the CopperDog 150, This Saturday

This weekend will mark a fun new event that you won't want to miss! The Continental Fire Company in Houghton, Michigan is hosting Raven Congress and Raven Congress is graciously donating the cover charge to support the CopperDog 150! If you haven't heard the Raven Congress or visited the Continental Fire Company, then this is the perfect opportunity to get out of the house to listen to amazing original rock at one of the classiest establishments in the Houghton/Hancock area!

Make sure you mark your calendars! Music is from 8:00 PM until 11:00 PM. The cover charge is $10 and will support the 2014 CopperDog 150 (that is only 3 months away)! This is the perfect opportunity to shed some of that winter gear, show off your dance moves, and talk about CopperDog! We really hope to see you and all of your friends out on the dance floor!

posted on 12/3/2013 8:05 AM by Meredith LaBeau | permalink | Back to Top

Santa and Sled Dogs

'Tis that time of the year when Santa takes to the skies and CopperDog takes to the ground. On Saturday, December 14, kids in the Copper Country will have a chance to have a personal encounter with each of them - Santa, and sled dogs, that is!

Come visit Santa during the "Celebrate Christmas in Calumet" celebration, and then head over to Agassiz Park for a FREE kids' sled dog ride. Children will be offered the chance to ride in a sled pulled by a team of sled dogs. Easier to control than flying reindeer (although mushers might debate that point), and more fun!

Sled dog rides will be offered from 1-3 pm, with line-up for the rides starting at 12:30 pm. The sled dogs, sleds, and mushers for this children's event are provided by Tom Bauer, of Otter Creek Kennel and Wilderness Tours. Free hot dogs and free hot chocolate will also be available.

posted on 12/3/2013 1:24 PM by Meredith LaBeau | permalink | Back to Top

Race the 2014 CopperDog 150 and CopperDog 40!

Registration for the CopperDog 150 and CopperDog 40.  The CopperDog 150 has a maximum of 35 teams and the CopperDog 40 can take 15 teams.  Registration opened on Saturday, September 7, 2013 at 9am EST.

Click here to REGISTER NOW ...

As some of you many know from prior years, our online registration system can be a little temperamental at time and PayPal can be sassy with some people's credit cards, so please take your time as you move through each step. If you have any problems, just give Meredith LaBeau a call at 517-974-8579, she is super helpful!

If registration for the CopperDog 150 or CopperDog 40 fills up, we recommend that mushers get on the waiting list.  In the past, every musher on the waiting list eventually made it into the race due to drop outs. To get on the waiting list, just proceed with the normal registration process. Teams on the waiting list that do not make it into the race will receive a full refund of their registration fee.

posted on 9/7/2013 12:15 AM by Todd Brassard | permalink | Back to Top

Welcome to CopperDog 2014!

What could possibly inspire 45 race teams, 450 of volunteers, and thousands of spectators to spend a weekend in the Keweenaw snow, working and playing together in freezing temperatures?  The CopperDog 150 and CopperDog 40 sled-dog races!

The CopperDog 150 and CopperDog 40 brings 50 professional and recreational teams, 440 sled dogs, and over 5,000 of fans to Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula for 138 miles of sled dog racing through a pristine winter wilderness. This amazing race takes place annually the first weekend in March. Over the course of the weekend, the sled dog teams make their way from historic downtown Calumet, to the warm and welcoming community of Eagle Harbor, to the ever beautiful Copper Harbor, and then back to downtown Calumet again. Along the way, fans and volunteers cheer them on and provide friendly assistance.

The race starts on historic Fifth Street in downtown Calumet, Friday night. Thousands of fans crowd the streets as each sled dog team launches into the dark night, cheering them on. When the last team has disappeared down the trail the street party continues, taking over the town of Calumet with music, dancing, food, and drink.

Meanwhile out on the trail, volunteers are ready. For each leg of the race, hundreds of volunteers oversee the trail, record times and relay them by wireless radio network to the live webcast, and assisting mushers with road crossings.

Saturday morning, after the hospitality of the Eagle Harbor Inn and a nights rest in Eagle Harbor, the teams depart to Copper Harbor. Saturday afternoon fans, families, and volunteers welcome the teams in from the trail, and can meet the dogs and visit with mushers before the mid-race banquet that evening.

Sunday morning, after a full night's rest, the teams leave Copper Harbor and make the climb up Brockway mountain.  Teams race along the crest of the mountain until they reach the top, then turn downward and return to Calumet, where they once again travel through the town (lined with cheering fans) and cross the finish line.

It’s a fun filled weekend involving the entire community – a family party taking place on the entire peninsula. Come join us for this unique experience February 28 - March 2, 2014!

Fans are welcomed with open arms and volunteers (and more volunteers) are always needed.

posted on 9/7/2013 12:09 AM by Todd Brassard | permalink | Back to Top

2014 Races - Letter to Mushers


I am very pleased to announce that we will once again be hosting pro and sport class races in 2014. The 5th annual CopperDog will be held Friday, February 28th through Sunday, March 2nd.

Registration opens on Saturday, September 7th, 2013 at 9:00am. The races may fill up quickly, so please note the date on your calendars.

Calendar Conflict with UP200/Midnight Run

We host our event each year the first weekend of March which has typically been two weeks after the UP200/Midnight Run and one week before the Great Bear Chase (a regional cross country ski race that also takes place in Calumet).

In 2014, March 1st falls on a Saturday, so it is arguable that our event should be held March 7 – 9, because the first Friday in March is the 7th.  Unfortunately, this would place CopperDog weekend on the same weekend as the Great Bear Chase (a large regional cross country ski race that brings 500 skiers to Calumet), which would simply overtax our community’s people power, resources, and make little economic sense.  With this in mind, we have scheduled our event February 28th through March 2nd, the true first "weekend" of March.

Because February 1st 2014 is also a Saturday and the UPSDA schedules their race weekend on the third full weekend (Fri, Sat & Sun) of February, the UP200/Midnight Run and CopperDog 150 races are currently scheduled one week apart in 2014.

We understand that this will be a conflict for teams who want to run both races and we are open to ideas.  If you are interested in or planning on running both the UP200 or Midnight Run and the CopperDog 150 or CopperDog 40, we are very interested in hearing from you.

CopperDog 40 Rec-Class Race

We have been working to make improvements to our sport class race for many years.  This has included trying to reduced the distance, finding an excellent ending location, and adding prize money to the event.  This event is still very much a work in progress.  We feel the mileage is a bit long for a sportsman class event, but we believe ending in Eagle River was a phenomenal change to the event for 2013.

CopperDog 40 Details

  • Team: 6-Dog
  • Mileage: 42 Miles (possibly reduced to 37 miles)
  • Stages: 1 (night run, downtown start)
  • Capacity: 15 Teams
  • Purse: $1,000 (500, 300, 200)
  • Registration: $100 (flat rate), Open Sat, Sep. 7
  • Refund: Dec 7 - 75% Refund, Jan 4 – 50% Refund, Feb 1 – 0% Refund
  • Withdraw: No carry forward to next seasons event

CopperDog 150 Pro-Class Race

As many of you know the CopperDog 150 has become very popular in a few short years.  We are very appreciative of the positive feedback, criticism, and suggestions for improving the event.  We are still learning, open minded, willing to experiment, and always looking to improve.  We continue to be 110% committed to the mushers, handlers, kennels, and dog teams who are the stars of our event.  We also remain focused on our goal of “happy healthy dogs, happy healthy mushers”.

Dog Pool (with a Twist)

For several years we have been hearing about the pros and cons of pool racing.  We have had many conversations, read a ton of testimony (for and against), and consulted with a number of trusted race vets.  Our conclusion: A pool format provides more options for mushers to manage their dogs in a race.  Options to reduce the distance some dogs run, increase the rest period for some dogs, and reduce the number of dogs pulling to increase the mushers control on a fast or icy trail.

Although we are interested trying the pool format, we are not interested in significantly changing the nature of our pro-class competition which has been popular and successful.  It is our belief that instituting a 12-dog pool would likely make it more challenging for kennels with a dozen or less dogs to field a team they felt would be competitive.  Therefore, we are instituting a 10-dog race with a 10-dog pool.

Ultimately, the CopperDog 150 is still a 10-dog race for those traditionalists, except mushers may choose to start with 8 dogs on Stage 1 and move back up to 10 Dogs for stages 2 and 3, for example.  Mushers may also choose to rest a dog between Stages 1 and 3.  We believe this format in an excellent opportunity for us to try to give mushers more options for caring for their teams as they see fit while not significantly changing the nature of the competition.  Everyone gets 10 dogs, how are you going to run them?

CopperDog 150 Details

  • Team: 10-Dog Pool, Max 10 Dogs In Line
  • Mileage:138 Miles
  • Stages: 3 Stages (Night 50 miles, Day 43.7 miles, Day 43 miles)
  • Capacity: 35 Teams
  • Purse: $24,000 (6300, 4800, 3600, 2600, 1800, 1200, 1100, 1000, 900, 700)
  • Registration: $350 (flat rate), Open Sat, Sep. 7
  • Refund: Dec 7 - 75% Refund, Jan 4 – 50% Refund, Feb 1 – 0% Refund
  • Withdraw: No carry forward to next seasons event

Pool Rules

  • Maximum number of dogs in pool: 10
  • Maximum number of dogs in line: 10
  • Minimum number of dogs to start Stage 1: 8
  • Minimum number of dogs to start Stage 2: 7
  • Minimum number of dogs to start Stage 3: 6
  • Minimum number of dogs to finish any stage: 5

For those hard core traditionalists who want to hit the trail with the 10 best dogs, this 10-dog pool format allows them to do just that.  For those teams who have never run in a pool race, this is an excellent opportunity to get their feet wet.  For those race organizations (that would be us) that have never hosted a pool race, it’s an excellent opportunity to gain firsthand knowledge and insight into pool racing.  Our hope is to keep the competition fair for mushers who favor traditional racing and those who favor pool racing; we believe a 10-dog pool does exactly that.

If you would like to share your thoughts on the 2014 CopperDog 150 10-Dog Pool Race, please e-mail .  All musher feedback receives full consideration.  We greatly value your input.

Purse and Registration Fees

The CopperDog, a non-profit volunteer organization, currently operates with an annual budget around $70,000 with less than $10,000 of revenue from registration fees.  We have increased our guaranteed purse by $1,000 each year for the past several years and we hope to continue to do so in the future.

CopperDog 150 Race Purse
Position 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
1st Place $3,000 $6,000 $6,000 $6,200 $6,300
2nd Place $2,000 $4,500 $4,500 $4,800 $4,800
3rd Place $1,200 $3,500 $3,500 $3,600 $3,600
4th Place $1,000 $2,500 $2,500 $2,600 $2,600
5th Place $800 $1,500 $1,500 $1,800 $1,800
6th Place $500 $500 $900 $1,100 $1,200
7th Place $400 $450 $800 $900 $1,100
8th Place $300 $400 $700 $800 $1,000
9th Place $200 $350 $600 $700 $900
10th Place $100 $300 $400 $500 $700
11th Place - - $350 - -
12th Place - - $250 - -
Total $9,500 $20,000 $22,000 $23,000 $24,000

For 2014 we are increasing the purse for 6th – 10th Place and put a little more money into 1st Place. We also discussed day money, but were not convinced this was a healthy decision for dogs.

We have increased the registration fee by $55 to help shore up our overall revenue since our expenses are coming so close to matching or exceeding our income each year. The registration fee is a flat fee regardless of when a musher registers. If we have room on our roster, we see no need to punish a musher with a “late fee” for wanting to run our race at the last minute.

We are however becoming more aggressive with our cancellation policy to help prevent tentative mushers from “squatting” on the roster only to pull out after it’s too late for other teams who really want to attend the race to get in.

The cancellation schedule is as follows:

  • Withdraw before December 7 – 100% refund
  • Withdraw before January 4 – 75% refund
  • Withdraw before February 1 – 50% refund
  • After February 1 – no refunds

Mushers will be allowed to do one transfer between races without penalty. Mushers will not be able to withdraw and roll their registration into the following seasons. All mushers must register on a first-come-first-serve basis. The first place winner of each race is guaranteed lot in the following year's race if they plan to compete (they must still pay the registration fee). The maximum number of participants for the pro-class race has been raised from 30 to 35.

Thank You!

On behalf of our Board of Directors, thank you for all the great things you bring to our community. We hope you will find the decisions we have made for the 2014 to your liking and will choose to compete in our 2014 event!

Kind Regards,
Todd Brassard
Exec/Race Director
CopperDog, LLC.

posted on 4/14/2013 3:38 PM by Todd Brassard | permalink | Back to Top

Sun Shines for CopperDog

(click here to view the original story)

CALUMET - The CopperDog 150 is only in its fourth year, but the event has already come full circle, converting a harsh critic into a top promoter - and now, after Sunday, a first-time winner.

Bruce Magnusson withdrew from the race in its inaugural year after safety concerns, but race organizers addressed those concerns and convinced him to come back the next year. He finished 11th then, second last year and won this year's Professional-Class race over a finishing field of 26 mushers in 10 hours, 43 minutes, 2 seconds.

"We had a conversation (the first year), but they're phenomenal. I wouldn't miss it now," said Magnusson, who lives in downstate Novi and runs his kennel out of Cheboygan. "My main goal this year was there was no repeat winners. The nice thing is I don't think it's a bad idea anymore."

Bruce Magnusson crosses the finish line in downtown Calumet Sunday afternoon. He didn’t know at the time, but final results showed he won his first CopperDog 150.

Photo Credit: Stephen Anderson/Daily Mining Gazette

Magnusson said there's only two races on his list every year: The International Pedigree Stage Stop Sled Dog Race in Wyoming and the CopperDog 150.

"The first year we were running (the CopperDog), nobody came from Stage Stop. There's seven of us here this year - only by good word and passing on the word of this race," Magnusson said.

Photo Credit: Stephen Anderson/Daily Mining Gazette

Frank Teasley, race director of the Stage Stop, participated in the CopperDog, finishing 11th in the most competitive field yet. Several other sled dog racing dignitaries were in attendance, including Ryan Redington (eighth) - whose father founded the Iditarod - and his wife Erin (15th).

"We heard a lot of good things about this race - beautiful trails, well put on, and we had to come check it out," said 30-year-old Ryan, who has been racing dogs for 25 years. "I just thought it was an amazing race, fantastic competition, great sportsmanship and I look forward to being back here someday."

Ryan Redington epitomized sportsmanship as voted on by fellow mushers, earning the Sportsmanship Award during Sunday afternoon's awards ceremony at Sacred Heart Church in Calumet. Ironically enough for Redington, who crossed the finish line Sunday wearing a T-shirt, the award came with a Carhartt jacket.

Dennis LaBoda finished in second place and also garnered the Copper Harness Award. A team of 11 veterinarians bestow the award to the musher who takes the best care of his or her dogs.

"We saw the mushers do an outstanding job taking care of their dogs at each of the checkpoints," said chief veterinarian Dr. Jeff Ladd, who reported no injuries outside of a few sore wrists, pulled muscles and the slightest overheating in Sunday's warm (for the dogs) 20-degree temperatures under sunny skies.

"This is so much fun," said LaBoda. "I've been racing dogs for a long time - this is my 40th year - and I only go to dog races that I really like. This is done so well."

From race organizers to volunteers, to mushers and dogs, to trail crew members and sponsors, to veterinarians and spectators - who came out in droves (6,000-plus projected Friday night; 800 projected at Sunday's finish, up from 400 last year) - organizers say it takes an army to pull off a race of the CopperDog's magnitude, but veteran mushers gushed over the organization.

Photo Credit: Stephen Anderson/Daily Mining Gazette

"Wow, you guys put on an event that - and I've been to a bunch of dog races - this race is top notch. I love coming here, I love the atmosphere," said fourth-place finisher, 2011 winner and veteran bike race organizer Ross Fraboni.

Erin Redington gave particularly high praise for the volunteer force: "The number of volunteers they get for this race is astounding - all the folks out at the road crossings, that is really impressive ... definitely unlike most races. Most races have a lot of support, too, but this was above and beyond."

Erin's brother Andrew Letzring also ran the race, and the three mushers and teams all came in the same Ford F-350 truck with the Alaska license plate "MUSHAK."

But the Redingtons were "mushing MI" for the third time this month (TheIronLine and the U.P. 200), using Erin's parents' Duluth home - a 71-hour drive from their Alaska home -as headquarters.

Other notable finishers include Jake Golton in third place and Jerry Bath rounding out the top five. Local 16-year-old Roy Bauer from Chassell finished in ninth, while last year's winner JR Anderson finished 13th.

"If I want to do one race a year, this is probably the race I'm going to do," Bauer said. "It's just a great vibe."

The race started Friday night with a party-like atmosphere capped off by fireworks in downtown Calumet; continued with a 9 a.m. start in Eagle Harbor and finishing in the afternoon in Copper Harbor; and started with a 9:22 a.m. start (intentionally later because mushers were pushing the volunteer time schedule with their speed) in Copper Harbor before entering Calumet shortly after 1 p.m. Sunday.

"From our perspective, the mushers' perspective in everything we're hearing, the race went well, the trail was great, the mushers were running well," CopperDog 150 Assistant Race Director Kim Pici said. "I think it was a success."

The weekend also featured a CopperDog 40 Recreation Class race, which was won by Martha Schouweiler, with Calumet-based musher Truman Obermeyer taking second and Linda Thompson in third.

Photo Credit: Stephen Anderson/Daily Mining Gazette

But Magnusson's victory stole the show, garnering a standing ovation at the award's presentation.

"Bruce Magnusson was one of our biggest critics our first year, he's one of our biggest champions and evangelists right now, and to have him win the race, I guess that just makes sense," CopperDog 150 Executive/Race Director Todd Brassard said.

Brassard is working with Pici and another assistant race director, Meredith LaBeau (who was going to be race director until she became pregnant) to make sure the race continues in the future.

Vice Chair Abbey Green presented LaBeau and Todd's wife Jessica with children's CopperDog shirts to signify carrying on the tradition.

For full CopperDog 150 and 40 results, visit, and for additional photos and CopperDog coverage, visit and

posted on 3/5/2013 10:21 AM by Todd Brassard | permalink | Back to Top

Chance to Purchase: Volunteer Video and Race Photos!

Greeting CopperDog Volunteers!

Winter has finally come to a close and another great season of sled-dog racing is wrapped up. Mushers are doing their spring chores around the dog yard and the sled-dogs get a couple of months off before temperatures drop once again and training resumes in the fall.

Hopefully everyone who volunteered for the 2013 CopperDog 150 race had an excellent experience and is looking forward to returning for the 5th Anniversary of the race in 2014. We cannot thank all of our volunteers enough for the time and the energy they put into this massive community enriching effort.

We are taking just a moment to recognize a very special class of volunteer, the videographers and photographers who capture all of the great moments that we use to promote the race and share with family and friends.

Mark Riutta, owner and creative mind behind Defined Visuals, filmed, edited, and has released a 30-minute film entitled “The Volunteer”, that was shown at the Volunteer Appreciation Social. This featurette takes an in-depth look at the role volunteers play in planning and running a CopperDog 150 race. The feature is chocked full great visuals, interviews, and event outtakes. You can watch a trailer for the film and support CopperDog by purchasing your own copy of the film to own for $12. If you are interested in a DVD, not a digital copy please contact Mark Ruitta.

Daniel Cunningham is one of the newest additions to the CopperDog photography team. Dan was essentially photographing everyone race weekend getting great shots in Calumet, Eagle Harbor, and Copper Harbor. Be sure to visit his 2013 CopperDog gallery online.

Bill Fink provides comprehensive coverage of CopperDog weekend, taking photos and video clips of starts, finishes, crossings, opening and closing ceremonies, and more. Bill also covers pre and post-race events including training sessions. Visit Bill’s CopperDog 150 galleries by scrolling to the bottom of his events page.

Ray Bosley has been a dear friend of the race since its early days. Ray travels with race officials and gets shots of teams, settings, and scenes. Ray has an eye for the beauty of small details and you can see the love he has for photography in his shots. Visit Ray’s 2013 gallery.

Adam Johnson (Brockit, Inc.) has been shooting cover page photos for CopperDog since our beginnings in 2009. Since the early days, Adam's photos have served CopperDog very well, depicting the beautiful of our communities, our woodlands, the people who live here, and the sport of mushing. The CopperDog 150 is a magical, romantic event and Adam and his crew capture this and share it with the world.

Thanks for taken a moment to read about these great people who capture great moments at CopperDog. Enjoy their galleries and the memories they rekindle. Also if you have not returned your volunteer/handler bibs, please reply to this email or drop them off at River Valley Bank in Calumet.

posted on 5/28/2013 11:50 AM by Meredith LaBeau | permalink | Back to Top
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