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Our Mission

To develop charitable, educational and benevolent activities dedicated to the enrichment, development, and vitality of communities, natural resources and trail systems in Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula through world-class events, creating informational and educational opportunities, encouraging national recognition, specifically with respect to advancing national and international sled dog sports including sled dog racing and an understanding of the historic role of sled dogs in a natural environment.

posted on 9/23/2012 10:31 PM by Todd Brassard | permalink | Back to Top

What Is CopperDog?

Hey! Let’s organize a sled dog race!

That’s what a small group of people said in 2009, and from that initial idea the CopperDog 150 and CopperDog 40 sled dog races were born.

Both races usually run the first weekend in March. The CopperDog 150 features teams of ten dogs and covers 150 miles in three days, while the CopperDog 40 features teams of six dogs and covers approximately forty miles in one day. The CopperDog 150 caps at thirty teams and the CopperDog 40 caps at fifteen teams. Which means … the first weekend in March finds 350+ dogs racing through Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula.

The CopperDog 150 and CopperDog 40 are organized by CopperDog, Inc., a 501(c)3 organization located in Calumet, Michigan, a small town in the middle of the Keweenaw Peninsula – a narrow finger of land on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula that juts into the middle of Lake Superior.  With an average annual snowfall of 241 inches it’s the perfect place for … well, a sled dog race.

Since its beginning the CopperDog races have attracted mushers from around the world. While many mushers come from the Midwest, each race usually has several Canadian mushers competing – and in 2011 and 2012 a musher from South Africa competed.

CopperDog is definitely a labor of love. It is an entirely volunteer operation, with more than 500 volunteers helping to put the race on. Local residents help mushers with their dogs, provide housing, and oversee trail crossings. Local police and fire departments volunteer their time to man all highway crossings and ensure the safety of all volunteers and participants. On its business end, CopperDog, Inc. is run by an unpaid volunteer board of directors.

CopperDog is more than just two sled dog races. In addition to promoting community vitality through sled dog racing, CopperDog strives to provide education on the history and sport of sled dog racing. Numerous public events – such as classroom visits, volunteer training, “Meet the Dogs” events, and free sled dog rides - are held throughout the year.

CopperDog is always looking for new volunteers. If you’d like to work with a great group of people and be part of one of the MOST FUN winter events you’ll ever see, please contact us. We can’t do it without you!

posted on 9/23/2012 9:38 PM by Lesley DuTemple | permalink | Back to Top

Chief Veterinarian - Jeff Ladd, DVM

Dr. Ladd has been serving as CopperDog's Chief Veterinarian since our inaugural event in 2010.

Far more than just a race weekend official, Dr. Ladd is deeply involved with the CopperDog Board and Race Planning team throughout the year. Dr. Ladd brings expertise, passion, and a committment to excellence with dog safety, care and injury risk reduction.

Dr. Ladd goes above and beyond to create an amazing experience for his veterinary team spending lots of time working with race planners on major issues and small details; he is always looking to design better solutions, evolve, and press forward for better ideas.

Dr. Ladd is a 1987 graduate of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University. He is the owner of Keweenaw Veterinary Clinic near Chassell, MI. He has participated in sled dog medicine and races since 1990, to include the Beargrease, UP-200, Empire, Iditarod, and served as the first chief veterinarian in the inaugural CopperDog 150 in 2010. He is a member of the ISDVMA.

Dr. Ladd has a vital member of the CopperDog family, which is why we hug him!

posted on 10/12/2014 4:40 PM by Todd Brassard | permalink | Back to Top

Race Veterinarian - Jean Wilcox, DVM

Jean Wilcox is a '94 graduate of Michigan State University's College of Veterinary Medicine. 

She has been involved in the UP sled dog races as a vet since 1995...she really likes the green parka! 

Her interests beyond vet work include her biking, beading, horses, bird hunting with her spectacular dogs and wilderness trips to canoe and camp with her husband, Burt and appropriate critters when allowed.

posted on 11/30/2011 12:43 AM by Todd Brassard | permalink | Back to Top

Race Veterinarian - Tom Gustafson, DVM, CVSMT

Tom is a co-owner of the Thompson Veterinary Clinic in Manistique, MI since 1994. He grew up in Escanaba and graduated from the Escanaba Area High School. Tom received his DVM degree from Michigan State University during the latter part of the 20th century. In 2002, he completed training and received certification in Veterinary Spinal Manipulative Therapy from the Healing Oasis Wellness Center in Sturtevant, WI. and incorporates animal chiropractic into his mixed animal practice.Tom is also presently an instructor at the Healing Oasis Wellness Center.

Tom became interested in sled dog medicine and races in 1994. Since then he has been involved as a race veterinarian in various capacities. Races he has been involved with include the CopperDog 150, UP 200 and Midnight Run, Tahquamenon Country Sled Dog Race, Seney 300, John Beargrease, Great Trails Sled Dog Race, and GM Classic. Tom is also a member of the ISDVMA.

On the home front, Tom is kept busy with 4 kids and their activities, and numerous critters.His hobbies include cross country skiing, bicycling, and building stuff.

posted on 11/30/2011 12:45 AM by Todd Brassard | permalink | Back to Top

Race Veterinarian - Barb Matula, DVM

As a graduate of the charter class at University of Wisconsin Madison School of Veterinary Medicine in 1987, Barb Korte has enjoyed a long career as a small animal veterinarian.  She worked as a relief veterinarian for the past 13 years and travels to clinics from her home base in Sparta, Wisconsin, in the southwestern part of the state near La Crosse. Having had the privilege of helping her fellow veterinarians with seven of the past ten UP 200 races, she looks forward to returning to Marquette again this February for the UP 200.  Working the Copperdog 150 for the second time provides a chance to renew friendships and make new ones - two legged and four legged alike.

posted on 12/20/2012 8:23 AM by Meredith LaBeau | permalink | Back to Top

Race Veterinarian - Karen Mallum, DVM

Karen Mallum has been chasing sled dog teams around the U.P. since 2000, when Dr. Tom Gustafson first recruited her to be part of the U.P. 200 veterinary team. She lives in Ironwood, Michigan, with her amazingly tolerant husband, and owns Lake Road Veterinary Clinic. Her favorite four letter word is S-N-O-W!

posted on 2/7/2013 2:08 PM by Meredith LaBeau | permalink | Back to Top

Veterinary Technician - Meghan Marks

Meghan Marks has been involved with Sled dogs since 2000. After many trips to Alaska and Canada to help care for dogs during races and working on research projects, she is more content to stay closer to home these days. 2013 season will bring the excitement of a new race, the Ironline, the UP200, and of course her second Copperdog. Last years race was a great experience and she would not miss it....even after yet another knee surgery in Sept. The Copperdog is a top dog race and she is honored to be a part of it.

Back home Meghan works in human medicine now, but along with sled dogs she helps with spay and neuter clinics through out the year. Meghan has 2 cats and 2 sassy terriers that keep her and hubby busy. Dog park visits and going for wings are their favorite activities.

Meghan is excited to help mushers and dogs in another great racing season!

posted on 2/11/2012 11:35 AM by Meredith LaBeau | permalink | Back to Top

Veterinary Technician - Beckie Hacker

Beckie Hacker has been a Certified Veterinary Technician since 1998 and a equine/canine massage therapist since 2011. Her love of sled dogs started in 2005 with a chance to volunteer at the John Beargrease Marathon, she's been hooked ever since! She is involved with the John Beargrease, Apostle Island, UP200/Midnight Run and the CopperDog.  She also was involved with the inaugural year for both the Gichigami Express and The Iron Line Sled Dog races in 2013. Her love of the sport and the amazing canine athletes led her to organize the Midwest Sled Dog Veterinary Symposium in 2012 with the help of Dr. Jerry Vanek. With its success in 2012 it will be held on a yearly basis to help promote the health and well being for sled dogs and to further the education of the veterinary professionals, vet students and mushers.  In the off season she enjoys endurance and trail riding with her horses, camping and planning for the next sled dog season!

posted on 2/11/2013 4:52 PM by Meredith LaBeau | permalink | Back to Top

Veterinary Technician - Kris Ausland

Kris has been involved with sled dog racing since 2009, and this will be her 3rd year as a member of the CopperDog Veterinary Team. She holds an Associate of Veterinary Technology degree and a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Minnesota, Duluth. Kris is an Iraqi Freedom Veteran and retired from the Minnesota Air National Guard after serving for 21 years. Her Veterinary experience includes shelter medicine, working on a mobile surgical unit, emergency medicine, small animal practice, as well as rural area veterinary trips to help the less fortunate. Kris works as a Certified Veterinary Technician at the Duluth Veterinary Hospital. Her race experience includes the UP200/Midnight Run, John Beargrease Sleddog Marathon, CopperDog150, Apostle Islands, and Gichigami Express sled dog races. She has also run teams in the Ely WolkTrack Classic and the Mid-Minnesota races.  Kris lives in Esko, Minnesota with her two teen-age daughters, a horse, 1 dog, 3 cats and a ferret.

posted on 1/17/2013 7:48 AM by Meredith LaBeau | permalink | Back to Top

Veterinary Technician - Chris Schriever

Ms. Chris Schriever just took on a new role as an Equipment Specialist and Territory Sales Representative with Midwest Veterinary Supply.  Prior too this position she was the Hospital Manager and head Certified Veterinary Technician for two 24 hour emergency hospitals and a Specialty Referral Center in the Madison, Wisconsin area. In her spare time she loves spending time with her 15.5 year old husky, gardening, and playing in the snow.  Chris graduated from Iowa State University with a BS degree and she also holds an associate’s degree from Argosy University. She has been a veterinary technician since 1998 and a member of the John Beargrease Veterinary Team since 2001.  She has also worked the Solon Springs and Apostle Island sled dog races

posted on 12/20/2012 8:30 AM by Meredith LaBeau | permalink | Back to Top

Veterinary Tech Student- Keri Mahoney

My name is Keri Mahoney and I am excited to participate in my fourth year working on a vet team for a dog sled race and my second year at the CopperDog 150. The 2011UP200 was my first experience being a veterinary assistant on the Vet Team and I loved it. I enjoy being outside and my usual hobbies include summer adventures of trail riding with my horse, camping and kayaking, so being able to offer some hands-on help to Veterinary team is a real joy for me.

I've always enjoyed watching the sled dog races, and as a child my parents brought me to the races in the Escanaba area, so getting to help with the behind-the-scenes workings has been very educational. For the last two years have been employed at the Gwinn-Sawyer Veterinary Clinic; where I have learned that being employed by Dr. Wilcox means being a dedicated worker and having a lot of fun... like working in the UP200 CopperDog 150, and new this year the Iron Line Race!

I graduated from Bay de Noc in 2003 with my Associates of Science and continued on at Northern Michigan University. Now I live in Rock, Michigan with my husband, Mike,three felines and one canine companion. I have been a veterinary assistant for 6 years.Being from the Upper Peninsula, I enjoy all seasons, but having a new reason to enjoy winter is even better. In my free time, I enjoy being outdoors, kayaking, riding my horse, and camping

posted on 12/20/2012 3:43 PM by Meredith LaBeau | permalink | Back to Top

Contact Us

CopperDog, Inc.
P.O. Box 384
Calumet, MI 49913
MICS# 48044
Kim Pici
Race Director
Meredith LaBeau
Assistant Race Director
Doug Harrer
Race Planning
Pam Hecht
Race Planning/ Fundraising
Abbey Green
Race Planning/ 
Todd Brassard
Race Planning
Renee Cunningham
Race Planning
Jo Cauvin

Board of Directors

Doug Harrer, Chair
Pam Hecht, Vice Chair
Meredith LaBeau, Board Member
Brett Matuszak, Board Member
Renee Cunningham, Assistant Treasurer
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