A few years ago a rather prominent event planner in the Keweenaw told us that “CopperDog has an amazingly high level of volunteer loyalty; people just keep coming out year after year to support this event.” We reflected on this comment and agreed; CopperDog has an amazing turnout of volunteer each and every year, but why? “Why do people come out for CopperDog?” is one of those questions that we have been asking for years and never been fully able to answer.
We suspect the answer has something to do with “inclusion”. Where so many events like foot races, bike races, ski races, triathlons, and various other sports tournaments are focused on the sport and on the athletes, CopperDog is focused much more strongly on community and the idea of people and organizations coming together to do something truly wonderful.
Look around, athletes are everywhere: walking, running, biking, skiing, swimming, skating, and playing all kinds of sports. But people dedicating their lives to gliding down a trail scrutinizing dog butts, that is far less common; in fact it’s incredibly rare comparatively speaking.
What our volunteers do have in common is the love of the Upper Peninsula, the Copper Country and the Keweenaw. The CopperDog 150 ultimately earns volunteer loyalty because they love this place in which we live, they love the life and vitality that the CopperDog resonates, they love being included and playing an important part in a world-class event that happens right in their backyard, and they breath in the magic and beauty of mushing and dog teams races through the countryside and go home feeling inspired, energized and richer from the experience.
Hopefully, the CopperDog will continue to inspire us for many years to come and old friends will continue to return each year and new friends with come out and become part of our family. CopperDog is about inclusion, about bringing people together, about hard work that is totally worth it, about being inspired by moments of true beauty, and the satisfaction that comes from a shared success.