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CopperDog 150 Champions

Know the names of past CopperDog 150 Champions as they are the teams to beat. Since there are small alterations to the race routes each year, performance is show as average miles per hour rather than overall time.

Year Musher Team State S1 S2 S3 Final
2010 Ken Josefsen Caribou Creek MI 12.43 10.51 11.11 11.16
2011 Ross Fraboni Ten Squared MN 11.76 11.45 13.26 12.04
2012 JR Anderson River Rock MN 12.42 9.76 9.96 10.66
2013 Bruce Magnusson Magnusson MI 13.25 12.08 12.93 12.73
2014 Jake Golton Golton Ontario 12.05 11.97 12.53 12.18
posted on 10/12/2014 11:20 PM by Todd Brassard | permalink | Back to Top

2015 CopperDog 150 Who's Registered?

2015 CopperDog 150 Professional
Professional, 10 Dog Race (10 Dog Pool), 135 Miles, 3 Stages, $25,500 Purse, Pays 1st - 10th
Registration Cap: 25 Teams
  Bib Musher Kennel/Team City, State Fin
1 11 Dennis LaBoda Night Train Racing Sled... Hovland, MN 1
2 12 Al Borak Magnusson Racing Novi, MI 2
3 18 Jake Golton Golton Kennels L'Amable, Ontario 3
4 14 Frank Holmberg Holmberg Racing Sleddogs Newberry, MI 4
5 4 Joanna Oberg Run Silent Racing Kennel Ignace, Ontario 5
6 6 Bruce Magnusson Magnusson Racing Novi, MI 6
7 8 JR Anderson River Rock Kennel Cook, MN 7
8 9 Joann Fortier Coyote Run Sled Dog... Gaylord, MI 8
9 19 Jerry Papke Alder Creek Kennel Kingston, MI 9
10 15 Kris Sampson Chocpaw Expeditions South River, Ontario 10
11 2 Michael Bestgen Fugarwekennels Saint Cloud, MN 11
12 3 Tom Bauer Otter River Sled Dog... Chassell, MI 12
13 21 Rita Wehseler Stoney Creek Kennel Tofte, MN 13
14 6 Amber Evans Silent Night Sled Dogs Milaca, MN 14
15 16 Chad Grentz Frost Creek Kennel Nisula, MI 15
16 10 Jerry Bath Bath Racing Kennel Lander, WY 16
17 17 Darlene Walch Little Bear Kennel Gwinn, MI 17
18 20 Josh Hudachek Firestar Kennel Cornucopia, WI 18
19 1 David Mills Maple Ridge Kennel Esko, MN 19
20 13 Becky Bean Kelly Jo's Solitaire Laurium, MI 20
21 7 Brian Bergen Gone to the Dogs Sioux Lookout, Ontario
22 Allen Dunn Pine Creek Husky Templeton, PA
23 Roy Smith Adirondack Kennel Racing... Lacona, NY
24 Tom Roig Valley Road Outfitters Shreve, OH
25 Dennis LaBoda Night Train Racing Sled... Hovland, MN
26 Jay Malchow Spirit Wind Kennel Bemidji, MN
27 Richard MacAuley ThunderRidge Kennel West Branch, MI
28 Richard MacAuley ThunderRidge Kennel West Branch, MI
Finished
10/11/2014 10:57 AM
Dennis LaBoda
Night Train Racing Sled Dogs
Hovland, MN 55606
Dennis LaBoda

Dennis LaBoda was born into mushing. He has participated in too many races to count and has finished everywhere from first to last. Dennis's lead dogs are Mary, who loves to race and Felix, who keeps up with Mary.

Vet Check Slot: 10:20

Starting Chute Song: "Hell's Bells" by AC/DC

Finish Position: 1

Finished
10/11/2014 10:12 AM
Al Borak
Magnusson Racing
Novi, MI 48377
Al Borak

Al Borak is running Bruce Magnusson's second team. He got into mushing through Lloyd Gilbertson. Lloyd took him for a ride and he got hooked. He has always liked dogs but found that sled dogs are something special. His leaders are Tacua, Pepper, Sparrow and Spike - all good leaders.

Vet Check Slot: 8:40

Starting Chute Song: "Sultans of Swing" by Dire Straits

Finish Position: 2

Finished
10/11/2014 10:45 AM
Jake Golton
Golton Kennels
L'Amable, Ontario K0L 2L0
Jake Golton

I got into mushing with my family in 1996 when I was 4. I have raced all across North America, Wyoming Stage Stop 7th, Can Am 250 8th. Chief and Sid are my lead dogs. I also enjoy hockey, hunting, and fishing.

Vet Check Slot: 10:00

Starting Chute Song: "The Stroke" by Billy Squier

Finish Position: 3

Finished
10/11/2014 12:01 PM
Frank Holmberg
Holmberg Racing Sleddogs
Newberry, MI 49868
Frank Holmberg

Frank Holmberg says it was just bad luck that he got into mushing. Frank has been mushing and training sled dogs since 1998 in Newberry, Michigan. He also enjoys hunting and fishing. Frank’s lead dogs are Crazy, Hope and Girl... and he says all three listen well.

Vet Check Slot: 9:40

Starting Chute Song: "Supermassive Black Hole" by Muse

Finish Position: 4

Finished
10/11/2014 2:12 PM
Joanna Oberg
Run Silent Racing Kennel
Ignace, Ontario P0T 1T0
Joanna Oberg

I got into mushing when some good friends of mine gave me a my first dog sled ride and I was hooked from the moment we took off:) I have been in love with running dogs and racing ever since:)
My first win was the 2012 Midnight Run, was also Rookie of the year and won Best Cared for Team Award, also placed 1st in the 2014 Voyageur Classic, and 3rd in the 2015 mid-distance Beargrease to name a few.

Main Leaders will be five year old Hawk who is super fast and three year old Viva. Vader, Zarko, Echo, Vashti, Venture and Vapor are also good back up leaders.

When not running dogs I enjoy reading, writing, kayaking, fishing, swimming, hiking with my Irish Setter and Beauceron, and competing in dogs shows/events:)

Vet Check Slot: 11:20

Starting Chute Song: "Eye on It" by TobyMac

Finish Position: 5

Finished
10/11/2014 10:12 AM
Bruce Magnusson
Magnusson Racing
Novi, MI 48377
Bruce Magnusson

Bruce Magnusson started as a handler. Nine years ago, he got his own dogs... and has completed 50 races since then. He usually finishes in the top-10. Bruce has a great bond with his lead dogs... Siksik and Cheyenne. From Magnusson Racing in Manchester, Michigan...

Vet Check Slot: 8:40

Starting Chute Song: "Walk This Way" by Aerosmith

Finish Position: 6

Finished
10/11/2014 10:00 AM
JR Anderson
River Rock Kennel
Cook, MN 55723
JR Anderson


JR Anderson has grown up in the sport of sled dogs. This year marks his 5th time racing the CopperDog 150, with the first time racing the CD150 in 2011. He is proud to return to race against the most competitive Midwest kennels, as well as incredible Copper Country!
JR, wife Anna, and daughter Sara live in Buyck, Minnesota. They care for 30 sled dogs, with most of the dogs bred and raised at River Rock Kennel. JR's lead dogs include: Man-O-War, Citation, Harry, Brownie, and Fox.
Chris Lang, Anna, and Elizabeth Chapman help train, care and maintain the day to day activities at the kennel. This well oiled team also works together to ensure the dogs have the best possible care and attention during the race.

When JR isn't with the dogs you will find him building homes and commercial buildings for clients. Custom crafted woodwork is a specialty JR has perfected over the years and he is well known for his buildings original characteristics.


Vet Check Slot: 11:00

Starting Chute Song: "Beautiful Day" by U2

Finish Position: 7

Finished
10/11/2014 10:08 AM
Joann Fortier
Coyote Run Sled Dog Kennel
Gaylord, MI 49735
Joann Fortier


I always wanted to get into racing sled dogs since I watched Susan Butcher win Iditarod in the 80's. I got my first sled dog from Jerry Papke in 2000 and the rest is history. We now have 35 dogs in our kennel. This is my 15th race season. I have competed in the Beargrease 150, Tahquamenon, the Midnight Run probably a dozen times and many other smaller races. This is Larry's favorite race and he has been saying I should run it for the past few years. It will be fun to switch duties and see the trail finally. My leaders are Poppy and Zeus. They are fantastic leaders and are those dogs you never have to take out of lead. They just love to do it, day in and day out and love seeing what is around every corner. We have a 10 year old daughter, Ana, so most of our activities are either Ana or kennel related. Doesn't leave much time for other interests. She loves the dogs and is our chief puppy trainer. I am really looking forward to finally get to run this great race! A HUGE thank you to Larry for letting me take his place on the runners this year!

Vet Check Slot: 9:00

Starting Chute Song: "I Lived" by OneRepublic

Finish Position: 8

Finished
10/16/2014 9:56 AM
Jerry Papke
Alder Creek Kennel
Kingston, MI 48741
Jerry Papke

Jerry Papke’s first experience with dogs came while hunting as a child. He transferred that love to sled dogs... and has completed 60+ races... usually finishing in the top-10. His lead dogs are Mike and Jander. Jerry builds log homes... and enjoys shooting pool, hunting and fishing and, most importantly, being a dad to daughter Maichen. Jerry would also like to thank his wife.

Vet Check Slot: 11:00

Starting Chute Song: "Lose Yourself" by Eminem

Finish Position: 9

Finished
10/11/2014 3:08 PM
Kris Sampson
Chocpaw Expeditions
South River, Ontario P0A 1X0
Kris Sampson

This will be Kris's tenth year running sled dogs, originally getting into the sport through Chocpaw Expeditions, where he currently works as Kennel Manager, over that time he has been able to share his love for the dogs and appreciation for the outdoors with the many people. He is excited to race many great teams at the CooperDog this year. Kris would like to thank the crew at Chocpaw and Ten Squared for all their support.

Vet Check Slot: 10:20

Starting Chute Song: "We Are All Winners" by We Are Wolves

Finish Position: 10

Finished
10/11/2014 10:07 AM
Michael Bestgen
Fugarwekennels
Saint Cloud, MN 56304
Michael Bestgen

Michael Bestgen got his start as a musher by helping a friend. Since then, he’s competed in nearly five-dozen races... and placed second several times. This is Michael’s sixth year at the CopperDog 150. His lead dogs are Vicious and Blanche.

Vet Check Slot: 11:20

Starting Chute Song: "Drunk on a Plane" by Deirks Bentley

Finish Position: 11

Finished
10/11/2014 10:36 AM
Tom Bauer
Otter River Sled Dog Training Center and Wilderness Adventures
Chassell, MI 49916
Tom Bauer

Tom had three dogs which, because of their excess energy, killed some of his neighbor's chickens. As he was paying the neighbor for the damages, it was suggested that Tom should run the dogs and the neighbor gave him a sled. It's certainly not the usual way to start a mushing career but away he went.

Tom has run many, many races and usually finishes in the top ten. He was fourth in the first CopperDog race. His leaders this year are Luke, Fender, Frankie,Comet, Violet and Highrule! As well as running his own Otter River Sled Dog Training Center and Wilderness Adventures, Tom spends time in Alaska in the summer giving sled dog rides on a glacier.

He would like to thank Heikkinen Firewood and the Super 8 Motel for their help in sponsoring his racing.

Vet Check Slot: 10:00

Starting Chute Song: "Voodoo Child" by Jimi Hendrix

Finish Position: 12

Finished
2/3/2015 10:59 AM
Rita Wehseler
Stoney Creek Kennel
Tofte, MN 55615
Rita Wehseler

Paul Ellering introduced me to the sport of mushing. I have run many races including Apostle Island 2015 - 1st place, Can-Am Crown 250 2012 - 3rd place , Apostle Island 2012 -1st place. My Lead dogs are: Asland, Serra, Zinga, Maggie, and Quest. I love to bake.

Vet Check Slot: 9:40

Starting Chute Song: "Good Time" by Alan Jackson

Finish Position: 13

Finished
10/11/2014 10:01 AM
Amber Evans
Silent Night Sled Dogs
Milaca, MN 56353
Amber Evans

Got interested in mushing after we saw dog sled rides on the lake in Bemdji while attending college there. Many years later after pharmacy school and 4 babies, we got our first dog. I've finished MNR, CopperDog 150, mid distance Beargrease, Apostle Islands. My lead dogs will be Lil Brown and Mia. Lil is small but smart and sweet. Mia is young and learning the ropes from Lil. Honors besides dogs, kid' activities more dogs and more kids activities....sewing. Sponsor is Trudy Midas with Espana Silk Dog and Horse products. .

Vet Check Slot: 10:00

Starting Chute Song: "Do Life Big" by Jamie Grace

Finish Position: 14

Finished
10/11/2014 10:00 AM
Chad Grentz
Frost Creek Kennel
Nisula, MI 49952
Chad Grentz

Frost Creek Kennel is located in Nisula, MI. We currently have 18 dogs in the yard and I have been running dogs competitively for 8 years and this year I ran in The Iron Line in Iron River This will be my third year running the CopperDog.

Vet Check Slot: 9:00

Starting Chute Song: "The Only Way I know" by Jason Aldean

Finish Position: 15

Finished
10/11/2014 10:52 AM
Jerry Bath
Bath Racing Kennel
Lander, WY 82520
Jerry Bath

Jerry Bath comes to us all the way from Lander, Wyoming. Jerry saw some dogsled races... thought it looked like fun. Now, he’s completed more than 50... and often finishes in the top-10. His lead dogs are Badger, Lady Bug, Peek a Boo and Jennie... and Jerry says he can count on each of them.

Vet Check Slot: 8:40

Starting Chute Song: "Back in Black" by AC/DC

Finish Position: 16

Finished
10/13/2014 5:16 PM
Darlene Walch
Little Bear Kennel
Gwinn, MI 49841
Darlene Walch

I have been mushing for nearly 18 years. Involved with Upper Peninsula Sled Dog Association (UPSDA) as volunteer, board member, and keeper of the race rules. Helped organize and run the JackPine 30 Sled Dog Race. President of JackPine Mushers Association until the organization folded. Love the sport. Got into mushing after I got my first Alaskan husky, tried ski-joring and realized I'm not that good of a skier (foresaw broken legs and twisted knees). A friend was mushing so I tried that and loved it. Races I've completed:

Tahquamenon race several times, both 6 and 8 dog class, finishing everywhere from toward the back of the pack to taking 3rd place in the 6-dog sport (2010); 4th place in 6-dog (2011) and 8th in the 8-dog pro (2015)

Apostle Islands - 3 or 4 times (including 15th place in the 8-dog class in 2008)
JackPine 30 - Red Lantern in 2003; 4th place in 2005
Midnight Run -- finished 4 times, placing in second half of pack
Beargrease Mid-Distance -- 14th place (2015) My Lead dogs: Indy, Bacon, Dupa -- what makes them special? Bacon - all round athleticism and intelligence; Dupa - puppyish personality; Indy - capacity for affection. My other hobbies -- wilderness canoeing, fishing, reading, watching old movies. My sponsors is my husband, Daniel.

Vet Check Slot: 10:20

Starting Chute Song: "Talking Back to the Night" by Joe Cocker

Finish Position: 17

Finished
10/11/2014 10:20 AM
Josh Hudachek
Firestar Kennel
Cornucopia, WI 54827
Josh Hudachek

I have been mushing since I was 12 years old. It has always been a dream of mine to race sled dogs. I have run in Apostle Islands Sled Dog Race, Wolf Track Classic, Mid MN 150, Midnight Run, and my favorite, COPPERDOG. My lead dogs are Simon and Keri who make wonderful team. My other hobbies are Spending time with friends and family, boating, four wheeling, anything outside. Most importantly I would like to thank my parents for allowing me to start this crazy sport and supporting me throughout the years, my husband Josh for the continued support and help, my wonderful handlers (Al, Jen, Phil, and Hannah) and all my sponsors.

Vet Check Slot: 10:00

Starting Chute Song: "When Worlds Collide" by Powerman 5000

Finish Position: 18

Finished
10/11/2014 12:27 PM
David Mills
Maple Ridge Kennel
Esko, MN 55733
David Mills

David got started mushing by helping with the Bear Grease and then his wife introduced him to David Gordon some years ago and now he runs out of The Maple Ridge Kennels. He is an outdoor person and hunter. David does not know who which dogs will be his leaders this year but he says that all the dogs in the kennel are great.

Vet Check Slot: 11:00

Starting Chute Song: "It's a Long Way to the Top" (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll) by AC/DC

Finish Position: 19

Finished
10/11/2014 10:02 AM
Becky Bean
Kelly Jo's Solitaire
Laurium, MI 49913
Becky Bean

Several years ago I purchased a kick sled and hooked my Golden Retrievers to it. It was a fun way to exercise them and it got me more curious about mushing. I met Kelly Jo Engle of Solitaire Kennel and she enlisted me to become a handler for her. The following winter I started racing and have been completely immersed ever since. There is nothing better than human and canines working as a team to overcome any trials and tribulations. My lead dogs are McCain and Shimone. They have the greatest personalities, always happy and willing to be in front of the team.
Winter has always been my favorite season. Figure skating is my other winter hobby that I will go back to after the race season is over.
A huge thank you to Kelly Jo for trusting me with her fabulous dogs and to my family for being tolerant of this "Crazy Dog Lady".

Vet Check Slot: 9:00

Starting Chute Song: "Bang Bang" by Jessie J, Ariana Grande, & Nicki Minaj

Finish Position: 20

Scratched
10/11/2014 11:03 AM
Brian Bergen
Gone to the Dogs
Sioux Lookout, Ontario P8T 1C4
Brian Bergen

Leanne's team will be run by Brian Bergen.

In 1991 a nurse showed up in Sioux Lookout and his name was Stewart McEwan. Stewart started telling us stories about him growing up with sled dogs. So we ended up getting some of Don McEwan's dogs when he was getting out of it in 91. Did races in northwestern Ontario which were all 12 miles to 25 miles in length, six dog class usually placed in the top five. In the last three years Leanne my daughter has got us to race hundred mile races and I ran the b team and just been happy to finish. My lead dogs are Area and Durza. They led my Beargrease team. My sponsors are First Mate Pet Foods Home Hardware, Days Inn.

Vet Check Slot: 9:20

Starting Chute Song: "I Gotta Feeling" by The Black Eyed Peas

Finish Position:

Withdraw
12/13/2014 10:49 AM
Allen Dunn
Pine Creek Husky
Templeton, PA 16259

Vet Check Slot:

Starting Chute Song:

Finish Position:

Withdraw
10/13/2014 11:58 AM
Roy Smith
Adirondack Kennel Racing Sled Hounds
Lacona, NY 13083

Vet Check Slot:

Starting Chute Song:

Finish Position:

Withdraw
10/11/2014 10:08 AM
Tom Roig
Valley Road Outfitters
Shreve, OH 44676

Vet Check Slot:

Starting Chute Song:

Finish Position:

Withdraw
10/11/2014 10:57 AM
Dennis LaBoda
Night Train Racing Sled Dogs
Hovland, MN 55606

Vet Check Slot: 10:40

Starting Chute Song:

Finish Position:

Withdraw
10/11/2014 10:42 AM
Jay Malchow
Spirit Wind Kennel
Bemidji, MN 56601

Vet Check Slot:

Starting Chute Song:

Finish Position:

Withdraw
10/11/2014 10:26 AM
Richard MacAuley
ThunderRidge Kennel
West Branch, MI 48661

Vet Check Slot:

Starting Chute Song:

Finish Position:

Withdraw
10/11/2014 10:26 AM
Richard MacAuley
ThunderRidge Kennel
West Branch, MI 48661

Vet Check Slot:

Starting Chute Song:

Finish Position:

2015 CopperDog 150 Professional

135 Mile, 10 Dog, 3 Stage, $25,500 Purse, Award 1st - 10th

The CopperDog 150 is back for the sixth annual running of the dogs in Upper Michigan's own Keweenaw Peninsula.  Join us in one of the Midwest's newest and most inspiring adventures in the sport of mushing.

Race Dates:
February 27 - March 1, 2015

Race Format:
Professional
10 Dog Team/10 Dog Pool
135 Miles, 3 Stages
1 Night Stage / 2 Day Stages

Race Purse:
$25,500 (1st - 10th)
$7,000 First Place

Max Teams:
32

Stage 1:
Calumet to Eagle Harbor
49.7 Miles

Stage 2:
Eagle Harbor to Copper Harbor
44.3 Miles

Stage 3:
Copper Harbor to Calumet
41 Miles

Experience the stunning and picturesque trails from the shores of Lake Superior, to the rolling and twisting back country, and cresting the peak of Brockway Mountain.  Enjoy the friendly people, welcoming communities, challenging trails, formidable competition, and the peace and tranquility that blossoms from the deep backcountry of the Keweenaw Peninsula.

The Keweenaw Peninsula is one of the most unique geographic features of the Great Lakes region.  "Lake-effect" snow storms contribute to the average 273 inches of snow-fall each year making the CopperDog 150 the perfect choice for a late season, March race.

Pro-class race teams are invited to join the fun and pit their and their team's skills and conditioning against other word-class competitors.  The best ten times take home a piece of the $25,500 race purse. 

posted on 10/10/2014 1:00 PM by Todd Brassard | permalink | Back to Top

2015 CD150 Race Purse

We are pleased to announce about a 6% increase in the 2015 CopperDog 150 race purse over the 2014 race.

CopperDog 150 Race Purse
Position 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
1st 3,000 6,000 6,000 6,200 6,300 7,000
2nd 2,000 4,500 4,500 4,800 4,800 5,000
3rd 1,200 3,500 3,500 3,600 3,600 3,800
4th 1,000 2,500 2,500 2,600 2,600 2,800
5th 800 1,500 1,500 1,800 1,800 2,000
6th 500 500 900 1,100 1,200 1,200
7th 400 450 800 900 1,100 1,100
8th 300 400 700 800 1,000 1,000
9th 200 350 600 700 900 900
10th 100 300 400 500 700 700
11th - - 350 - - -
12th - - 250 - - -
Total 9,500 20,000 22,000 23,000 24,000 25,500
posted on 10/10/2014 1:00 PM by Todd Brassard | permalink | Back to Top

CopperDog 150 - Stage 1

The CopperDog 150 is perhaps best known by spectators for its fabulous downtown start. Fifth Street in historic downtown Calumet is pumped full of energizing music through a half mile of speakers with pre-recorded musher bios and music picks. Generally 4,000 to 5,000 fans line the snow road and the energy in the air is unbelievable.

Musher's who have run the CopperDog 150 often call the Friday night stage "technical" due to the more than 25 road crossings staffed will volunteers. Lead dogs can often be spooked by the number of people present at crossings or by volunteers that are a little too energetic. 

Starting in 2014, CopperDog planners are implementing measures to reduced the stress caused on dogs at road crossings. This includes re-education of volunteers concerning "mentally stressing dogs", reducing of the number of volunteers assigned to crossings and a liberal use of snowfence at crossings.

CopperDog invested in an additional 3,000 feet of snow fence for 2014. Half of this fence will be set up at the Traprock Bridge (Crossing #90) and the remainder cut into 25 and 50 foot segments, fitted with dowels, and distributed to volunteers for use at crossings.  Because the snow fence is support by dowels at either end (and sometimes in the middle), two to three volunteers can simply hold and stretch the snow fence in and out of position as mushers come through crossings.

Stage 1 is 49.7 miles and is typically composed 100% of groomed snowmobile trails. In 2013 mushers averaged 11.4 mph to 14.6 mph to the Traprock Bridge (Marker #90) then dropped to an average of 10.5mph to 12.75mphs for the remainder of the stage.

Looking at the elevation map (see below, see Google Earth data), mushers will see an initial drop in elevation between Calumet and Traprock, than 25 miles of relatively flat ground, followed by some good climbs to get over the hump into the Eagle Harbor Checkpoint.

Despite the high number of crossing, Stage 1 has been reported to be an exciting night run on well maintained snowmobile trails with friendly volunteers cheering teams forward. The Eagle Harbor Inn will have hot chili simmering on the stove and pulled pork sandwiches ready to serve. 

posted on by Todd Brassard | permalink | Back to Top

CopperDog 150 - Stage 2

Where stage 1 out of the downtown Calumet provides fans with a healthy dose of excitement and energy, the Eagle Harbor checkpoint stands in stark relief; a small, remote and quiet community that quadruples in population as mushers and dogs bed down before moving north towards Copper Harbor on Saturday morning.

Dog trucks will fill every nook and cranny of Eagle Harbor and many mushers will sleep in their rigs. About four blocks from the start is the Community Center which will be dry and warm and offers a hard floor to sleep on, so bring your sleeping pads and bags if you would rather not sleep in your truck. Mushers can enjoy a hot breakfast at the Eagle Harbor Inn who puts out an early breakfast buffet.

The Eagle Harbor checkpoint is stage racing at its simplest. Race officials start early Saturday morning locating all of the teams, drawing maps, and lining up handlers to help dog teams back to the starting line. Teams depart in reverse order (slowest to fastest) which means lots of passing action for mushers and excitement for volunteers as teams come through crossings back to back.

Stage 2 is 44.3 miles, mostly snowmobile trail, but with some "back country" trail where conditions are more unpredictable. The backcountry trail is often in excellent condition, but at times has been punchy or deep requiring teams to break trail. In 2013, speeds varied from 8.6 to 13.4 mph with an average between 10 and 11 mph.

The "police tower" has been removed as of 2014 and the milage made up with a loop around Hoar Lake. The police tower trail was very difficult for the race organization to groom and maintain and presented a very challenging climb and slow progress late in stage 2. Hoar Lake is intended to be better groomed and a little less aggressive. Weather conditions will play a huge impact on the condition of this section of trail.

Mushers will see the fewest volunteers of the weekend over stage 2. With only a handful of road crossings, mushers will enjoy some quality time with their dogs on the trail. Arriving in Copper Harbor mushers have a mandatory vet check. Teams are checked in the order they arrive.

Copper Harbor is a wonderful place for teams to enjoy an extended layover leaving lots of time to have dinners and drinks at The Pines Resort, The Tamarack Inn Restaurant and The Mariner North

posted on by Todd Brassard | permalink | Back to Top

CopperDog 150 - Stage 3

Thanks to the long layover between stages 2 and 3, mushers, their dog teams, the volunteers, just everyone comes into Sunday with renewed energy and focus. Each year the Copper Harbor restart gets better and better with the community shutting a major highway (US41) to enable mushers to launch out of Copper Harbor right from downtown. Our MC is back for the stage 3 start announcing teams as they enter the starting chute.

The Pines Resort and the Tamarack Inn Restaurant are well renowned for offering the best breakfasts in our region and they open very early between 5:30 and 6:00AM to ensure mushers, handlers, race officials, vets and volunteers have an opportunity for a morning cup of coffee and a hot meal before heading out into the cold.

Stage 3 is 41 miles, mostly thorofare snowmobile trail except for a few locations where we take teams off the beaten path for a little background adventure. In the early years, this short sections of backcountry could be pretty tough, but heavier grooming has reduced the difficulty of these sections of trail in recent years.

Perhaps the most exciting feature of stage 3 is the climb from Copper Harbor to the top of Brockway Mountain, about 600' over 4 miles of trail (see stage 3 elevation map). Mushers have reportedly loved this climb because its not only an amazing feeling to finally reach the summit and make the turn down the backside of the mountain, but its a perfect use of the dogs unbridled enthusiasm coming fresh out of Copper Harbor.

Once teams are over Brockway and through the back country that follows, its pretty much a straight shot down Trail 3 back to downtown Calumet where cheering spectators are welcoming teams home.  Teams average between 8.5 and 12.9 mph climbing brockway, right round 10.5 mph through the country and finally between 10 and 12 mph for the remainder of the stage.

The reverse start out of Copper Harbor tends to pack teams together bringing almost all of the competitors into downtown Calumet within an hour. The spectators are very excited to experience teams coming in back to back. Each year has drawn more spectators to the downtown finish. 

posted on by Todd Brassard | permalink | Back to Top
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