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2018 CopperDog 80 Results

The ninth annual CopperDog 80 boasted its largest field with 19 teams entering the race. Tristan Rivest won the event with a strong showing in only his second CopperDog appearance. One of our frequent participants, Alex LaPlante, finished with an impressive second place. Erin Becker placed third in her second CopperDog not far off the pace. We welcomed some new teams to the field this year and are looking forward to their return next year.

Place Musher Bib Time mph Appearances Wins
1 Tristan Rivest 31 6:39:44 12.05 2 1
2 Alex LaPlante 18 6:54:40 11.62 7  
3 Erin Becker 23 7:09:53 11.21 2  
4 Liz van den Toorn 20 7:11:35 11.16 1  
5 Jerry Trudell 26 7:12:08 11.15 7 1
6 Laura Bontrager 21 7:14:21 11.09 1  
7 Kelsey Beaber 30 7:27:56 10.76 2  
8 Susan Serafini 24 7:29:17 10.72 5  
9 Frank Caldwell 34 7:30:47 10.69 1  
10 Geri Minard 19 7:49:38 10.26 8
11 Amber Evans 29 7:51:48 10.21 8  
12 Brian Kandler 33 7:56:43 10.11 3  
13 Adam Schmidt 32 9:11:18 8.74 2  
14 Marcus Benjamin 36 9:47:48 8.20 1  
15 Tim Chisholm 28 11:02:48 7.27 4  
DNF Gerhardt Thiart 22     2  
DNF Becky Bean 25     5  
DNF Hanna Tiura 27     1  
DNF Kelly Jo Engle 35     4  
posted on 3/8/2018 1:22 PM by Jim Northey | permalink | Back to Top

2018 CopperDog 150 Results

The ninth annual CopperDog 150 saw both excitement, incredible sportsmanship, and a third time winner. Mr. Dennis LaBoda won his third CopperDog 150. Anny Malo, last year's winner, overcame a health issue with one of her sled dogs and a reduced team size, for a come from behind second place finish. Anny was the first musher to arrive at the Stage-3 finish in Calumet on an incredibly bright and sunny day. Ryan Anderson in his first CopperDog 150 was a few minutes behind Anny. Martha Schouweiler, a veteran of several races and a past winner of the CD40 race, placed fourth. Experienced CopperDog participants Jake Golton, Rita Wehseler, JR Anderson, Michael Bestgen, and Greta Thurston rounded out the top ten.

Place Musher Bib Time mph Appearances Wins
1 Dennis LaBoda 10 9:41:40 13.17 9 3
2 Anny Malo 12 9:45:33 13.09 2 1
3 Ryan Anderson 17 9:50:59 12.96 1  
4 Martha Schouweiler 14 9:56:26 12.85 6 1
5 Jake Golton 15 9:59:38 12.78 6 1
6 Joanna Oberg 7 10:18:59 12.38 5  
7 Rita Wehseler 8 10:25:44 12.24 3  
8 JR Anderson 9 10:29:56 12.16 7 1
9 Michael Bestgen 3 10:31:16 12.14 9  
10 Greta Thurston 11 10:43:22 11.91 1  
11 Frank Moe 6 11:17:34 11.31 6  
12 Tom Bauer 5 11:51:02 10.76 4  
13 Lynne Witte 1 11:54:15 10.73 9  
14 Jerry Papke 13 11:57:04 10.69 8  
15 Chris Adkins 2 13:33:30 9.42 1  
DNF Larry Fourtier 4     8  
DNF Bruce Magnusson 16     8
posted on 3/7/2018 8:37 PM by Jim Northey | permalink | Back to Top

’Dog Drama: Musher saves competitor’s dog in distress

Kali Katerberg/Daily Mining Gazette Musher Amy Malo checks over her dogs after a second-place finish. Due to trouble early in the race, Malo finished with a six-dog team in the 10-dog race.

CALUMET — A competing musher turned lifesaver in the middle of this weekend’s CopperDog race. As Anny Malo pushed her team trying to defend last year’s title, one of her dogs collapsed on the trail.

“We don’t know what happened. He just fall(s) down and he was choking really bad,” Malo said.

In the middle of the stage, there were no officials or emergency personnel around to help — except a competing musher, who suspended his race to treat the dog, possibly saving the athlete’s life.

Musher Frank Moe received the race’s Sportsman Award for his quick action that saved the life of another team’s dog.

“I was just panicking beside my dog and trying to do something but didn’t know what to do,” Malo said. “Frank went by and he just stopped the team.”

Kali Katerberg/Daily Mining Gazette Spectators give high fives to musher Jerry Papke as he nears the finish line.

A trained emergency medical technician, Moe performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on the dog after seeing Malo in distress on the trail, leaving his own team with another musher, a risky move.

Malo thinks the dog, Max, lost air after inhaling ice or snow.

“I still have my Max, and he is well. He’s just the happiest dog in the truck,” Malo said.

“I’ve done CPR a bunch of times, and it’s never worked. The first time it ever worked in my life was on a dog,” said an emotional Moe.

Despite the emergency on the trail, Malo was the first musher to cross the finish line, placing second in the race this year.

Malo finished with a team of only six dogs in the 10-dog 150. Two dogs seemed tired Saturday, so she pulled them, Malo explained.

“I didn’t take any chances,” she said.

First place in the 150 went to three-time champion Dennis LaBoda who has been to every CopperDog 150 since the beginning.

“There’s a reason we come back. It’s one of the greatest events in dog mushing,” LaBoda said. The Minnesota resident feels like he’s coming to see family and friends each race.

“We came over here knowing that there were 10 or more teams that could win this race. We were hoping we could be competitive and (are) honored to take the position we did,” LaBoda said as he accepted his award.

Ryan Anderson placed third, Jake Golton was fourth, and Martha Schouweiler was fifth.

In the CopperDog 80 Tristan Rivest took first place, Jerry Trudell finished second and Alex LaPlante took third.

Fourth place went to Liz van den Toom and fifth to Kelsey Beaber.

Volunteers, businesses, spectators and mushers came together for another successful race weekend.

“It takes an army to do this,” said first-year Race Director Jeff Foss at the awards presentation following the race. The many contributors were recognized for their role in keeping the race safe and smoothly running.

The race was well attended with an enthusiastic crowd taking advantage of the warmer weather, just warm enough for spectators to stay outside and just cold enough to not severely hamper the dogs.

This marked the third CopperDog for Christopher Morgan and his son, Theodore.

“The Friday night festivities were awesome,” he said. “I think that’s the biggest turnout I remember seeing. I love on Friday the dogs are super excited to get going…and then seeing them on Sunday is pretty emotional…because they’ve been working so hard they’ve got their tongues dragging,” Morgan said. “It’s a lot of fun.”

The crowds were a boon to Calumet businesses. According to Copper World owner Tony Bausano, this was the best year on record.

“We saw at least 10 to 15 percent more people, and it reflected the same thing in merchandise as far as sales went so it was good. We’re very pleased,” Bausano said.

Weather played a roll, he explained, with more families with kids out and about and attendees staying longer.

posted on 3/5/2018 12:26 PM by Kali Katerberg | permalink | Back to Top

DogHouse Race Results

The fifth annual DogHouse races held Saturday, March 3rd, 2018 sponsored by Kopper's were a success as measured by the fun had by the competitors and the spectators on a sunny day on the CopperDog 150 snow road. If you missed the DogHouse races, you missed one of the most relaxing and enjoyable parts of the CopperDog 150 weekend.

The Kopper's DogHouse Races brought to us by these additional wonderful sponsors

If you are unfamiliar with the DogHouse races and Saturday Calumet, you can access an overview of the DogHouse race format and rules here.

Junior Division 5th through 8th Grade

Team Time Judges Score Total Score Place Payout
Castle Crashers 42.75 53 -10 1 $250.00
5th Peanuts 47.62 47 1 2 $150.00
Boomtown 75.16 42 33 3 $100.00

Senior Division 9th through 12th Grade

Team Time Judges Score Total Score Place Payout
LL Building Construction 45.09 50 -5 1 $250.00
USA Pride 48.28 47 1 2 $150.00
FBC Youth Group Freshmen 59.38 47 12 3 $100.00
K 9000 94.25 46 48    

Community - all other entrants

Team Time Judges Score Total Score Place Payout
LL Building Construction 40.16 47 -7 1 $500.00
Nutz 49.1 53 -4 2 $300.00
Boltz 49.4 45 4 3 $200.00
Lambda Chi Alpha 66.44 49 17    
Shute's Saloon 74.25 48 26    
Dawgs R Us 79.56 44 36    
The Koppers Machine 148.63 56 93    
Hubbell Fire 154.38 51 103    

Mayo Photography provided us with the pictures on this page. You can also see Michelle's wonderful nature and wild life photographs here on Etsy.

posted on 3/6/2018 1:30 PM by Jim Northey | permalink | Back to Top

CopperDog 150 and CopperDog 80 Race Results

The Official Race results for CopperDog150 and CopperDog 80 races have been posted by our timing team led for the 9th year by our Chief Timer, Kiko de Melo e Silva

Official Results Page

posted on 3/4/2018 4:00 PM by Jim Northey | permalink | Back to Top

CopperDog 150 and CopperDog 80 Official Results by Stage

CopperDog 150 Stage-3 Copper Harbor to Calumet

Sunday March 4th, 2018

CopperDog 150 Stage-2 Calumet to Eagle Harbor to Copper Harbor

CopperDog 150 Stage-1 Calumet to Eagle Harbor

CopperDog 80 Stage-2 Copper Harbor to Calumet

CopperDog 80 Stage-1 Calumet to Eagle Harbor

posted on 3/3/2018 9:41 AM by Jim Northey | permalink | Back to Top

Handcrafted Cooler donated by Bob Kichak

Mr. Bob Kichak from downstate Livonia, Michigan has used his creative talents to support many local community organizations (such as the Lake Linden schools). Bob creates custom cooler furniture. The cooler contains a conventional cooler inside a pine wood cabinet with legs. The cooler is adorned with handles and a convenient retro bottle opener. Made of pine, the overall cooler is lightweight, so it can be transported to your campsite, your camp, or your tailgating location.

What makes this piece of furniture unique to the CopperDog, you might ask? Please go ahead and ask. The lid of the cooler is custom airbrushed by the artist and Bob's neighbor in Livonia, Mr. John Lang. Mr. Lang has personalized the cooler for the CopperDog 150 race.

Silent Auction

You can be the proud owner of this Bob and John's practical and quite useful work of art and quality craftsmanship by participating in the silent auction the week of the race. The cooler will be on display in the merchandise area in Calumet Friday night. There will also be a chance to bid on this one of a kind creation on Saturday in Calumet and then at the Banquet after the race.

All Proceeds from the auction go to the CopperDog150!

Chair not included in sale. Shown to help visualize the size of the Kichak Customer Cooler. But, you probably already figured that out.

posted on 2/6/2018 10:20 PM by Jim Northey | permalink | Back to Top

All that is missing is you! Volunteer opportunities at the CopperDog 150

With a little more than a month to go, preparations for the 2018 CopperDog races are well under way. Mushers are training, the trail crew is hard at work, and Mother Nature is doing her thing.

But there is still one thing we need: You!

There are still dozens of fun jobs that you can sign up for. Is there a road crossing you have come to call your own? Do you want to try your hand at dog handling? Could you spare a few hours to help assemble or tear down the snow road in Calumet?

Whatever you choose, please remember to sign up on the CopperDog website so that we know you're coming. The CopperDog 150 wouldn't be possible with out you!

Browse Volunteer Opportunities!

Thanks for getting involved!

Brian Donnelly
Volunteer Director

posted on 1/22/2018 9:05 PM by Jim Northey | permalink | Back to Top

Other Great Copper Country Events

Check out these great events

The Copper Country has many great events coming up, we hope you'll check them out!

Winter Carnival - February 8-11 in Houghton
Organized by Blue Key National Honor Society at Michigan Tech since 1934, Winter Carnival started in 1922 and has grown into one of the biggest annual winter celebrations in the nation. Known for huge, intricate snow statues around campus and the community, Carnival also brings Huskies together to compete in broomball, comedy skits, human ice bowling, and a queen coronation.
Learn more at
Heart Health by the Numbers -- February 28 in Houghton
February is American Heart month. Those that live in the Copper Country are invited to celebrate by taking time out of your busy life to focus on your heart. Heart-healthy screenings will be offered free of charge and reviewed by experts the following week. Screening includes a full lipid profile (total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, triglycerides, blood glucose), blood pressure, body mass index and waist circumference. Learn tips on how to improve your health!
Learn more at
Glide N Gorge -- March 3 in Hancock
For this unique event, you’ll start at the Four Seasons Chalet, located at the north west corner of the Houghton County Fair Grounds. As always, we welcome you to classic ski, snow shoe, or snow bike! Kids in pulks and dogs are also welcome. Over the 3.5 mile course, you’ll experience some of the most spectacular scenery our trail system has to offer, with plenty of delicious eats along the way.
Learn more at
Great Bear Chase Ski Race - March 10 in Calumet
The Great Bear Chase was started in 1981 as a late-winter cross-country ski that would showcase Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula, and the plethora of snow it gets. The race was, and still is today, a major fundraiser for the Swedetown Trails Club. The club uses the money to maintain the Swedetown Trails, some of the finest in the Midwest.
Learn more at

No CopperDog race without army of local volunteers

CALUMET — Volunteers make the annual CopperDog 150 possible, and each year they keep coming back with enthusiasm.

The CopperDog 150 takes place on March 2-4 and has become a tradition for many residents. The Copper Country race from Calumet to Copper Harbor and back is 100 percent volunteer-run and organized and requires around 400 volunteers each year.

Volunteers work in shifts keeping everything running smoothly.

“You have the mushers and their dog teams coming from literally all over the world to the Keweenaw, specifically for this,” said veteran volunteer Devin Leonarduzzi. “We have great trails, great atmosphere, it’s high energy, (and) you feel like you’re part of something big.”

Leonarduzzi volunteered as part of the Keweenaw Young Professionals group, one of the many local organizations and businesses to send more than a dozen volunteers.

Fellow volunteer Stephen Handler has been volunteering for six years. His brother started organizing a group of 15-20 friends, and now it has become an annual event for the group.

“We kind of adopted a road crossing in Lake Linden, and that has become one of our most fun winter traditions,” Handler said.

According to Volunteer Director Brian Donnelly, around 60 percent of this year’s volunteer slots have been filled, but there are still key places that need help. There are lots of spaces left for small groups on Sunday and dog handlers are still needed, Donnelly said. Volunteering for multiple shifts is encouraged and a great opportunity to see different parts of the race.

Though children are welcome, he asks that only kids 14 and older sign up for volunteer slots. No pets are allowed, to avoid interactions with the dogs.

There will be training for all volunteers at 10 a.m. Feb. 24 at CLK high school. Half of the time will be spent on classroom learning, and the other half will be devoted to hands-on dog handling training.

Donnelly stresses that anyone looking to participate sign up, no matter how many times they’ve participated.

“We aren’t making any assumptions … It’s too serious of a deal. These road crossing volunteers are key to the safety of our race, and missing volunteers could lead to mushers and dogs that are unprotected from passing cars,” Donnelly said.

One reason volunteers keep coming back is the volunteer appreciation event where volunteers and mushers can spend time and view the photos and videos from the race.

“They do a great job capturing the event and all the pieces you don’t get to see if your volunteering in one place,” said Handler. “You get to see how your one little piece contributed to this whole experience.”

“It’s so cool that we’re able to do that up here, to host these people and give them a sense of community and show them that we’re supportive and that we care and take them in as our own,” said Leonarduzzi.

Any questions about how to volunteer for this year’s CopperDog can be sent to More information and sign up lists are available at

posted on 2/4/2018 5:21 PM by Jim Northey | permalink | Back to Top

This Year's Spirit of the Trail Coffee from Keweenaw Coffee Works

Again this year our own local coffee roaster, Keweenaw Coffee Works, has created a special limited time roast especially for the CopperDog150. All proceeds from the sale of Spirit of the Trail go to the CopperDog150. The coffee is available now and at the race. Get yours today. I picked up a case along with one of my favorites, their Elbow Grease Espresso roast. Now these are some good coffees!

This year's Spirit of the Trail

Val over at KCW wanted to make sure we mentioned the quality beans selected for this years special limited edition Spirit of the Trail coffee.

Finca Nueva Linda is a specialty-coffee estate managed by producer Jose Moguel. It is located in the Sierra Madre mountains of southern Mexico, in the state of Chiapas. The farm shares a buffer with the Triunfo Biospehere reserve, a 50,000-acre tropical cloud forest which helps to temper a changing climate and provide rich soil and clean water. El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve is one of the world’s most diverse forest reserves. This reserve contains Mesoamerica’s largest continuous cloud forest, and it serves as a refuge to thousands of plant and animal species. El Triunfo is a rare and valuable sanctuary, which requires continued protection. This coffee is RFA certified.

Construction News

KCW is working diligently on the renovations to move a bit south on 5th Street in Calumet. Unfortunately, their new location won't be ready before the CopperDog, but just a short block or so north is their current location where you can pick up your Spirit of the Trail along with any of their other fine roasts.

KCW's Current Location 326 5th Street

The New KCW Location Should be ready in the early spring

posted on 2/8/2018 12:12 AM by Jim Northey | permalink | Back to Top

NEW!! 2018 Stage Race Purse in memory of Nathalie June LaBeau

2018 Stage Race Purse

Through generous donors we have secured funds that will be handed out to the fastest team in each Stage.

All donations were done in memoriam of Nathalie June LaBeau who was born as part of the CopperDog and will always be a part of the CopperDog.

May her infectious smile be on us all.

posted on 2/13/2018 8:04 PM by Jim Northey | permalink | Back to Top

Health of canine athletes is priority at CopperDog

CALUMET — “My best friends are canine athletes, and I do everything in my power to make sure they are happy and healthy,” said long time musher Tom Bauer.

This is where the veterinarians come in, forming the foundation of safety at the annual CopperDog 150 and a key resource for the mushers themselves when the athletes’ health concerns arise.

“The veterinarians are a huge source of information for dog care for mushers, and they are there also to address any issues or problems and make sure that dogs are not continuing in the race that should not be continuing in the race,” Bauer said.

Each year the CopperDog has around five veterinarians in addition to a few veterinary technicians and two to four veterinary students, explained CopperDog 150 chief veterinarian Tom Gustafson.

Gustafson has worked as a veterinarian at around 50 races since he started in 1994.

“The thing I enjoy most about it is being able to work with these animals that are these amazing athletes, and so it’s a great change from practice,” Gustafson said.

Gustafson and the team of veterinarians conduct mandatory checkups to ensure dogs are fit to race throughout the CopperDog.

The checkups begin before the race at River Valley Bank.

“They check everything about their (the dogs) physical characteristics that they can,” Bauer said. “It’s a very thorough vet check that they do on each and every dog before they enter the CopperDog.”

Veterinarians examine fat content, hydration, split feet, muscle structure, temperature and heat rate. Additional checkups take place during the race itself.

“During the race there are mandatory checks, and it takes place up in Copper Harbor where the dogs are re-evaluated. Again we’re looking to identify any changes that may suggest that there is an issue developing,” Gustafson said.

Dogs are also evaluated by veterinary team members at the checkpoints to watch for potential issues and the mushers themselves are careful to watch for injuries, Bauer said.

“I find that the mushers are very much in-tuned with what their dogs are doing out there,” Gustafson said. “With any sporting event there’s always a possibility that…one individual may have a misstep out on the trail… and develop some lameness issue. Usually most of them are sore muscles that we find, but it’s something that they’re not going to continue to race.”

Race rules also include rabies and standard vaccinations for all participating dogs and a provision for drug testing.

Following a 2017 doping scandal at the Iditarod, the issue of drug testing has raised concerns in the sport. At the CopperDog, testing is not mandatory but an option if there are any suspicions.

“There are provisions in the race rules regarding drug testing…to do that when we feel that there may be an indication for it,” Gustafson said. “That’s pretty consistent with most of the races in the Midwest for the size races that we run and the competitors we see in this area.”

However, safety requires more than alert veterinarians and mushers. Well-trained CopperDog volunteers are key to keeping road crossings safe along with the safety rules of the race itself. Even the spectators can help keep the dogs and mushers safe by leaving pet dogs at home, Gustafson said.

“We’re there to monitor the dogs and their welfare, so our goals are in the best interest of the dogs, and we do have set parameters and guidelines that have to be adhered to,” Gustafson said.

Kali Katerberg, Daily Mining Gazette

posted on 2/17/2018 1:46 PM by Jim Northey | permalink | Back to Top

Chili Supper Fundraiser at Eagle Harbor Inn a big success

The Chili Bar fundraiser for the Eagle Harbor stage of the CopperDog was held December 28th at the Eagle Harbor Inn. The Probst family, Dick, Mary, Rich, and Kelly, run not only one of the best restaurants in the UP, they also are dedicated supporters of the CopperDog150. They worked incredibly hard serving over thirty guests and raising nearly $600.00 for the CopperDog Eagle Harbor stage of the race.

If you haven't yet provided yourself with the pleasure of visiting this terrific establishment run by a wonderful family, do so as soon as possible. You'll be glad you did. Open year round, don't wait until Spring to travel north and enjoy a great meal and warm hospitality.

Pictures from the Chili Bar at Eagle Harbor Inn

posted on 2/20/2018 8:21 PM by Jim Northey | permalink | Back to Top

A well attended All Volunteer Training Session- fun and serious

About 150 people attended the All Volunteer training. Tom Bauer our dedicated musher and Brian Donnelly our equally dedicated volunteer director educated our volunteers on team handling, safety, leaving our pets at home, making sure you wear proper attire, no Yak Traks or equivalent if you are working a crossing or handling dogs.

Tom Bauer reviewed the parts of the sled. Explained to volunteers how to handle teams, how to fall away from the sled if you lose your balance, how to stop a runaway team. Crossing leaders picked up their packets that include safety vests, which must be worn and the red/green stop and go card. Only police offers are allowed to stop traffic. For us this means that our crossing volunteers need to signal the mushers to stop if there is oncoming traffic. The crossing packets and the website have details on crossing procedures.

Volunteers were reminded by Kiko, the Chief Timer of the CopperDog, to make sure to check your start times on the website. For crossings - the times shown are calculated from past race statistics and represent the fastest a team would arrive at the crossing. Since a musher could be on a record pace, please try to arrive a bit earlier than the time shown (10 to 15 minutes should be fine), otherwise a fast musher might be met with no crossing protection. We recommend having you follow the race on either the Copperdog website or Facebook. Brian Donnelly also reminded volunteers that winter temperatures that are good for us might be too warm for the sled dog teams. The race could be started early if there are predictions of warm weather for any of the stage starts - so pay attention to the website and Facebook for updates.

Brian Donnelly our Volunteer Coordinator presenting to a standing room only crowd

Tom Bauer, musher and educator extraordinaire(left), Chief Timer - H.A. "Kiko" de Melo e Silva with our Resource Director, Renee Cunningham

Challenging weather aside, CopperDog is fun

With CopperDog one week away there’s much to be excited about. The mushers are ecstatic to return to the Copper Country for some fun.

CopperDog 80 winner of 2017, musher Geri Minard of Newberry, Michigan, said this race is all about fun and friends.

I’m going to approach it as an opportunity to have fun with my dogs and be out on the trail with my mushing friends,” said Minard.

Minard has been mushing since 2002 and involved in CopperDog on and off since 2009.

Last year was her first first-place win.

It was totally unexpected,” Minard said. “I was expecting to just go out and have fun. I was very surprised to learn that we had won.

Minard thinks that her team’s victory was a matter of things happening to fall in place.

She has the same thought process for this year.

My expectations are just to have a good time,” said Minard.

Rita Wehseler of Tofte, Minnesota, also said she’s coming just to have fun. Wehseler has been mushing for about 20 years. This will be her fourth year in the CopperDog and she said she enjoys it every year.

CopperDog is one of the nicest races I’ve ever run,” said Wehseler. “I love the downtown finishes. … Not all races finish downtown. I think that’s one of the great benefits of CopperDog.

J.R. Anderson of Cook, Minnesota, who has been mushing since 1987, agrees about the enjoyment of CopperDog.

It’s an excellent course and a lot of good competition,” said Anderson.

Anderson also said it’s been a challenging season due to the back-and- forth weather, but he’s still excited about the upcoming races.

I’m looking forward to seeing the town without a blizzard and maybe some sun,” said Anderson.

Minard said the season has been going very well for her, despite the unpredictable weather.

Fortunately, where we live in Eastern U.P. we get snow regularly so we’ve been able to train daily,” Minard said.

She added that her team has only missed only a few days.

No matter the weather conditions, Minard said CopperDog does a good job of making things work.

I know that whatever weather conditions we face, the trail will be in good condition,” said Minard.

Photo: Photo from the Keweenaw Traveler Facebook page, of musher Geri Minard at the CopperDog150.

Stage 1 (Friday night) Trail Reroute eliminates crossings - IMPORTANT

Our warm weather with ample sun created snow coverage issues on a major portion of the Stage 1 race route on trail 124. This forced race officials to reroute the race onto a section of trail known as Old 124. Stage 1 is now 5.1 miles shorter. Volunteers need to check the Volunteer system for revised crossing times and eliminated crossings.

A new crossing [138] has been added where Old#124 trail crosses Lake Linden-Gay Road. The following crossing have been eliminated.

Crossing 140 Lake Linden-Gay Rd. Eliminated due to reroute

Crossing 150 Big Traverse Rd. Eliminated due to reroute

Crossing 160 Lake Linden-Gay Rd.Eliminated due to reroute

Crossing 165 Gay Turn About Trail Eliminated due to reroute

The following Google Map links should help all participants in the CopperDog - volunteers and spectators. These maps show the update race route.

2018 CD150/CD80 Stage 1

2018 CD150 Stage 2

2018 CD150 Stage 3 / CD80 Stage 2

2018 CopperDog Places

posted on 3/2/2018 8:47 AM by Erin Barnett | permalink | Back to Top

Stage 1 (Friday night) Trail Reroute eliminates crossings - IMPORTANT

Our warm weather with ample sun created snow coverage issues on a major portion of the Stage 1 race route on trail 124. This forced race officials to reroute the race onto a section of trail known as Old 124. Stage 1 is now 5.1 miles shorter. Volunteers need to check the Volunteer system for revised crossing times and eliminated crossings.

A new crossing [138] has been added where Old#124 trail crosses Lake Linden-Gay Road. The following crossing have been eliminated.

Crossing 140 Lake Linden-Gay Rd. Eliminated due to reroute

Crossing 150 Big Traverse Rd. Eliminated due to reroute

Crossing 160 Lake Linden-Gay Rd.Eliminated due to reroute

Crossing 165 Gay Turn About Trail Eliminated due to reroute

The following Google Map links should help all participants in the CopperDog - volunteers and spectators. These maps show the update race route.

2018 CD150/CD80 Stage 1

2018 CD150 Stage 2

2018 CD150 Stage 3 / CD80 Stage 2

2018 CopperDog Places

posted on 3/2/2018 8:47 AM by Erin Barnett | permalink | Back to Top

Stage 1 (Friday night) Trail Reroute eliminates crossings - IMPORTANT

Our warm weather with ample sun created snow coverage issues on a major portion of the Stage 1 race route on trail 124. This forced race officials to reroute the race onto a section of trail known as Old 124. Stage 1 is now 5.1 miles shorter. Volunteers need to check the Volunteer system for revised crossing times and eliminated crossings.

A new crossing [138] has been added where Old#124 trail crosses Lake Linden-Gay Road. The following crossing have been eliminated.

Crossing 140 Lake Linden-Gay Rd. Eliminated due to reroute

Crossing 150 Big Traverse Rd. Eliminated due to reroute

Crossing 160 Lake Linden-Gay Rd.Eliminated due to reroute

Crossing 165 Gay Turn About Trail Eliminated due to reroute

The following Google Map links should help all participants in the CopperDog - volunteers and spectators. These maps show the update race route.

2018 CD150/CD80 Stage 1

2018 CD150 Stage 2

2018 CD150 Stage 3 / CD80 Stage 2

2018 CopperDog Places

posted on 3/2/2018 8:47 AM by Erin Barnett | permalink | Back to Top

Eagle Harbor Checkpoint Chili Bar Fundraiser Wednesday 27th 4pm-7pm

Please join us for a great meal and conversation at the Eagle Harbor Inn to help raise money for the 2018 CopperDog 150 Eagle Harbor Checkpoint sponsorship.

Wednesday December 27th, from 4pm to 7pm

Eagle Harbor Inn

$10 Adults / $5 Children

The Eagle Harbor Checkpoint is sponsored by individual donations from Eagle Harbor residents, their friends, and the Eagle Harbor Inn. Each year $2,000.00 is needed to support the check point.

What a great event to participate in and a great way to get out of the house after Christmas!

Picture (c) Philip Schwarz

posted on 12/23/2017 1:04 PM by Jim Northey | permalink | Back to Top

Support the Eagle Harbor Checkpoint!

Once again, it's time to think dogsledding! The CopperDog 150 dogsled race will once again make its annual overnight stop in Eagle Harbor during 2018. The race begins in Calumet on Friday, March 2 and will stop in Eagle Harbor that night. The dogs and their mushers will then leave Eagle Harbor Saturday morning March 3 to head for Copper Harbor and finish the race Sunday March 4 by heading back to Calumet.

This will be the eighth year that the Eagle Harbor community as well as the Eagle Harbor Inn have sponsored the Eagle Harbor Checkpoint. We need your help to raise the almost $2,000 needed to support this community event. Please consider joining us for the annual Chili Bar fundraiser at the Eagle Harbor Inn on Wednesday, December 27 and/or sending your tax deductible donation to the CopperDog. Here's how:

CHILI BAR FUNDRAISER - WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2017, 4:00 PM - 7:00 PM - EAGLE HARBOR INN Adults $10, Kids $5. Beverages not included.

TAX DEDUCTIBLE DONATION - Please send your check made out to the CopperDog and marked "Eagle Harbor Checkpoint" to:

CopperDog, Inc.
P. O. Box 384
Calumet, MI 49913
CopperDog, Inc. is a Michigan non-profit, 501 (c )(3) organization, MICS #48044.

If you have any questions, please call me at the Eagle Harbor Inn 906-289-4435

Photographs Copyright (c) by Philip Schwarz

posted on 12/24/2017 1:53 PM by Jim Northey | permalink | Back to Top

Cold weather brings exposure for children to dogsledding

CALUMET — With frosty breath and smiles, local kids tried their hand at dog sledding this Saturday.

For several years The CopperDog 150 has offered these free rides to hundreds of local children at Agassiz Park in Calumet.

“It’s fun… it’s kind of how we pay back the community. It’s an event for the children,” said longtime organizer Renee Cunningham.

The rides were provided by Tom and Sally Bauer from Otter River Sled Dog Training Center and Wilderness Adventures. The volunteers typically give rides to 100-200 kids. On a good year there can be as many as 300.

In addition to the rides, kids and parents could pet the dogs and pose for photos with a racing sled, number and fur mittens (dubbed gee and haw). Hot dogs, coffee and hot chocolate were also free to families.

The weather was cold but not cold enough to freeze the hot dog toppings solid like in previous years — or so went the horror stories.

Kids were also able to see the dogs up close, though not all the dogs looked like they belonged on a typical sled dog team.

“It’s really interesting. Most people come over and look at these and don’t think they’re really sled dogs,” said racer and volunteer Jerry Trudell of Sharks Came Racing.

His sled dogs are mixed with other breeds leaving them without that distinctive thick coat. Dogs like his are common in the warmer racing environments, Trudell explained, as they are typically faster, though less likely to survive minus-50-degree weather.

Though one thing all the dogs had in common was an eagerness to run. The snowy air was filled with barking.

“The excitement they have when they’re starting to race, the power is just phenomenal,” Trudell said.

The official CopperDog 150 race is set for Mach 2-4 in 2018 when these teams will appear again.

“You give a man anything that moves, and they’re gonna race it,” Trudell said.

posted on 12/19/2017 7:24 PM by Todd Fox | permalink | Back to Top

Another successful Kid's Sled Dog Ride Day

Another Kids Sled Dog Rides is in the books. A key part of the CopperDog program is education on mushing and the sport of sled dog racing. The annual Kid's Sled Dog Ride event held December 16th at Aggasiz Park proves that learning can also be fun! Over a hundred children were treated to sled dog rides by Tom and Sally Bauer. The children also were provided hands on access to Jerry and Pat Trudell's sled dogs. The brisk weather was made more bearable by the free coffee, hot cocoa, and hot dogs.

CopperDog would like to thank the following people and organizations for helping make the Sled Dog Rides not only possible, but also a great success.

Tom and Sally Bauer of from Otter River Sled Dog Training Center and Wilderness Adventures for bringing two of their racing dog teams to provide rides for the children

Jerry and Pat Trudell of ...Sharks Came Racing for bringing some of their racing team for the children to pet and visit.

Pat’s Foods for providing the hotdogs and hot chocolate

Keweenaw Coffee Works for providing hot coffee

The Village of Calumet for providing power and clearing snow

Main Street Calumet for the use of the tents and tables

Keweenaw Kabin Keepers for making the track for the rides

Brockit, Inc. for capturing the event in photos

97.7 The WOLF for the radio advertising for the event

River Valley Bank for the use of their grill

And finally a special Thank You to the CopperDog volunteers that braved the cooler temps to help make the event special for the children.

The event was covered by the Daily Mining Gazette on December 18th, 2017.

Please enjoy these pictures courtesy of Brockit photography of some of our future mushers.

posted on 12/28/2017 11:03 PM by Jim Northey | permalink | Back to Top

CopperDog Swag Clearance Sale

Get Official CopperDog Swag at River Valley Bank in Calumet

Sweaters ........ Only $10   Shirts ...... $5

Are you passionate about CopperDog150 and like to wear the Brand to show your support? We have long sleeve shirts and sweatshirts from races past. These have been marked down and are priced to sell. Shirts are now $5.00 and Sweatshirts are now $10.00 apiece. We are trying to make room before this years selection arrives. Stop by River Valley Bank in Calumet during regular business hours. Not all sizes and colors are available so come soon before they are all gone!

posted on 2/14/2016 8:23 PM by Todd Brassard | permalink | Back to Top

Keweenaw Coffee Works: Spirit of the Trail

Keweenaw Coffee Works of Calumet has once again put their expert knowledge of the roasting of quality coffee beans to work for the CopperDog 150/40 races. Valerie Baciak and Nate Shuttleworth, co-owners of the Calumet based business, are roasters of some of the Copper Country’s finest blends of coffee.

Spirit of the Trail, one of their many specialty coffee blends, is roasted exclusively for CopperDog. This limited edition coffee is prepared from beans grown in the Chiapas region of Mexico and boasts warming undertones of chocolate, toffee, and lemon.

Spirit of the Trail, is available at both the Calumet and Houghton locations of River Valley Bank, Lead Dog sponsor for the CopperDog 150/40 races. A 1- pound bag of this whole bean blend is $15.00 and Keweenaw Coffee Works is graciously donating 100% of the profits from the sales to the CopperDog organization.

We are grateful to have Keweenaw Coffee Works as one of our sponsors. Please drop by River Valley and pick up a pound of this specialty coffee today and help support the CopperDog races!

posted on 1/16/2015 12:57 PM by Meredith LaBeau | permalink | Back to Top

Groomers blaze trail for CopperDog 150

(view original story at the Daily Mining Gazette)

CALUMET - Many CopperDog 150 spectators will only see the first and last mile of the March 1-3 sled dog race in downtown Calumet, but if it wasn't for well-groomed trails on the other 136 miles in between, the event would never happen.

Race organizers rely heavily on Keweenaw Trails Services, Inc., to make sure the course to Copper Harbor and back is groomed properly, creating a safe, fun environment for mushers, sled dogs - and snowmobilers - alike.

"We are very fortunate to have access to the gorgeous country and trail system that is maintained by Keweenaw Trail Services," CopperDog 150 Executive/Race Director Todd Brassard said. "Our mushers are guests on beautiful snowmobile trails that are funded by the trail permit stickers."

As the local grant sponsor through the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, KTS gets paid a certain dollar amount per miles groomed, and it's no small task staying on top of the largest trail system in Michigan.

The 239-mile trail network stretches as far south as Toivola and north to Copper Harbor.

Grooming that many miles is challenging enough, but combine the needs of snowmobilers and those of mushers on CopperDog 150 weekend, and the task is that much greater.

"We worried about safety of the sled dogs and the teams, and we worried about the safety of snowmobilers, but CopperDog organizers help put up a lot of signs and provide crossing guards," said KTS head groomer and trail boss Larry "Buzzy" Butala. "We coordinate and work together.

"They get to use some of the most beautiful trails in the country, and we're happy to see the dogs have success," Butala added. "In the next 10 years this dog race will probably be the premier dog race in the country besides the Iditarod. We're trying to help them in any way we can."

Butala and his crew, which includes five groomers altogether, are out on the trails 20 hours a day, seven days a week, with typical shifts lasting nine to 11 hours.

Groomers hit the trails by 4 a.m. to keep up with the 400-500 snowmobilers who may use the trails during one shift on a busy weekend.

"This whole area is so fortunate to have groomers who do such a great job," KTS President Ken Stigers said.

This year KTS got a new $220,000 groomer, which is expected to last six to seven years. It's an impressive lifespan considering the 33,000 grooming miles KTS handles during a typical season - sometimes done at a "blistering 12 miles per hour," according to Butala - all while pulling seven tons of equipment. Fuel consumption is the in the range of $80,000 a year.

CopperDog 150 organizers donate $500 each year to help out, in addition to the volunteer task force that works with KTS race weekend to ensure safety all along the course.

"Each year the CopperDog is pleased to donate funds to the KTS to support the amazing trails that KTS maintains, and that people from all over enjoy," Brassard said.

First-year CopperDog 150 Trail Boss Brian Isaksson leads a crew of five people on the racing crew, some who head out on snowmobiles before the race, and others who "sweep" the course after the final team has hit the trails.

Eight people help out putting about 400 signs up the day before the race. Some of those signs direct mushers, others inform snowmobilers, who continue to use the trails they're paying for through CopperDog weekend.

"Snowmobilers, the vast majority of them, really actually appreciate seeing the race. It adds to Keweenaw experience," said Isaksson, who works for Isle Royale National Park during the summer and Michigan Technological University during the winter.

"They tend to pull over and watch dogs go by, slow down and wave. ... If they didn't have helmets on you could see their smiles."

For snowmobilers who would prefer to stay away from the race, alternate routes are available and listed on maps given to businesses in downtown Calumet.

Volunteer crossing guards and race organizers can also help, along with the signs posted along the trail. Sled dog teams train on snowmobile trails, so the dogs are not distracted. Isaksson is responsible for making sure trails are passable and reporting conditions to the CopperDog 150 board, and working with KTS in advance in case weather problems occur. The most common problem in the past has been low snow on Brockway Mountain in Copper Harbor, but organizers don't anticipate that being a problem this year. Alternate routes are pre-planned for worst-case scenarios.

"The trails are in immaculate condition," Isaksson said. "KTS is great, and they're a good asset to the race."

For more information on the CopperDog 150, visit, and check back to The Daily Mining Gazette every Saturday leading up to the race for more exclusive CopperDog 150 coverage.

posted on 2/16/2013 8:07 AM by Todd Brassard | permalink | Back to Top

"Happy healthy dogs, happy healthy mushers"

(view original story at the Daily Mining Gazette)

CALUMET - CopperDog 150 organizers have learned many lessons during the first three years of the sled dog race, but none as important as emphasizing dog safety. It's a lesson they almost learned the hard way in the event's inaugural year.

In March 2010, record-high temperatures and pouring rain threatened the race, with trails deteriorating by the hour. After the second stage, mushers were polarized on whether to continue on. After consulting with race planners and the chief veterinarian, a compromise was reached to run an abridged third stage.

Photos by Brockit

According to CopperDog Executive/Race Director Todd Brassard, some mushers like Bruce Magnusson felt maybe the CD150 wasn't a dog-friendly race after all by threatening the dog's health to finish in sub-par racing conditions.

"Race planners greatly benefited from insights gained and solidified their resolve to create an event that would be the most dog-friendly event in the sport," Brassard said. "The phrase 'happy healthy dogs, happy healthy mushers' was born from this imperative.

"Today, CopperDog continues to work closely with vets and mushers to make the CopperDog 150 a safe and fun event for mushers and their dog teams. There is always room for improvement and each year we work hard to make improvements."

It'll be hard to improve on the veterinary team organizers have assembled for the CopperDog 150's fourth installment.

Dr. Jeff Ladd, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at Keweenaw Veterinary Clinic, is the race's chief veterinarian, and he leads a team of 11 DVMs, Certified Veterinary Technicians and Veterinary Assistants that has a combined 150 years of experience with sled dog races.

Photos by Brockit

"The skills and experience our veterinary crew brings to CopperDog is absolutely essential to the operation of the event," Brassard said. "We rely on our vets, vet techs and vet assistance to evaluate the condition of the dogs and to provide medical services as needed. We also heavily rely on the chief vet to help us plan and prepare for an event that will be as dog friendly as possible. Good planning goes a long ways towards preventing injuries."

Ladd himself has been involved in veterinary care at sled dog races since 1990, including several trips to the Iditarod in Alaska, and serving as chief vet of the U.P. 200, and, of course the CopperDog 150.

"Dr. Ladd's presence has been critical to building CopperDog's credibility in the musher community," CopperDog 150 Volunteer Coordinator Brian Donnelly said. "Jeff always stands his ground when it comes to the safety of our animal athletes, and handlers can be confident that they're coming to a very dog-friendly event."

Even each of the four CopperDog "rookie" veterinarians has at minimum 10 years of experience with other sled dog races.

Which is good, because it's no small undertaking to make sure hundreds of dogs - which Ladd calls the canine equivalent of professional athletes - are all cleared for competition, tracked appropriately throughout the event and treated properly if an issue does surface.

"With the number of teams we have, just in the 150 (not including the smaller CopperDog 40), you're looking at 30 teams with 10 dogs to a team. That's 300 dogs, meaning 300 general health exams on Friday before the race starts," said Ladd, who gave a detailed presentation at last Saturday's Lead Volunteer training session. "Since we also check them orthopedically, that's 1,200 feet we look at. It's a lot of work in a short amount of time to get all these dogs evaluated."

Photo provided by Bill Fink Communications

It takes a true team effort, with vets and vet techs working in pairs, along with a scribe to do a physical and orthopedic exam on each dog before the race and at the Copper Harbor mandatory health checkpoint.

The pair follows guidelines as outlined by the International Sled Dog Veterinary Medical Association. The team is also available at the Eagle Harbor checkpoint, though it is not mandatory for all dogs to get checked there.

"The scribe writes in a little book we call the 'dog diary,' which mushers are required to carry on the sled," Ladd said. "That way we have a paper trail for each of the dogs."

Fortunately, the vet team hasn't had to respond to any emergencies during any previous CopperDog race, but it'll occasionally need to provide intravenous fluids for dehydrated dogs or advise a dog be pulled from the race. "The most outstanding thing we've had happen is dogs eating their booties," said Ladd, which requires the vet to help the dog vomit them up to prevent digestive problems.

"Our goal is simply to help the mushers take care of their dogs," Ladd said. "Ideally what you'd like to see is every dog finish the race. I look at my job as being an advocate for the dogs."

An important point Ladd and race organizers want race spectators to be aware of is leaving pets at home, since they can be distracting to the racing dogs and create problems for mushers.

"Race dogs are a pack, and outsiders can make them unpredictable, so it's really important to leave pets at home," Donnelly said.

Since the race started in 2010, CopperDog organizers have continually worked to accomplish the goal of "happy healthy dogs, happy healthy mushers." Just ask Magnusson, who nearly left the race after 2010, but who is now one of the race's biggest proponents.

"Had I left, it would have been my loss," he said at last year's closing CopperDog 150 banquet.

For more information on the CopperDog 150, including biographies of each member of the veterinary team, visit

Check back to The Daily Mining Gazette every Saturday leading up to the race for more exclusive CopperDog 150 coverage.

posted on 2/2/2013 6:47 AM by Todd Brassard | permalink | Back to Top

CopperDog Grows Up

Big things are happened at CopperDog, and the biggest occurred this past summer. On August 9, 2012, CopperDog became an independent non-profit 501(c)3 organization. (To be totally honest ... this event happened a bit earlier, since once the IRS approves your application your non-profit status is retroactive to the date of filing - which, in our case, was May 22, 2012.)

After three years of operating under the umbrella of Main Street Calumet, everyone agreed that CopperDog was viable, sustainable, and should be independent. Although this was a goal, becoming a 501(c)3 organization is no small feat and we are thrilled to have achieved it in only three years. (And, as an aside, getting through the IRS process in less than 90 days is almost a Guinness speed record.) We are grateful to Jim Lowrie, the CopperDog board of directors, and the Main Street Calumet board for their help in achieving this.

As exciting as this is for us, it's also just a legal footnote. Nothing has really changed at CopperDog. We still have our own board, are still planning two races (CopperDog 150 and CopperDog 40), and are still in need of volunteers and sponsors.

And we are still 100% committed to community vitality and involvement. Without the support of our Keweenaw communities it doesn't matter what our legal status is. We owe our independence and our success to YOU, our Keweenaw communities and supporters.

So here's to the best race ever, March 1-3, 2013, as we grow up together!

posted on 12/3/2012 2:24 PM by Meredith LaBeau | permalink | Back to Top

Keweenaw Detachment #1016 Marine Corps

This MCL Detachment was chartered about ten years ago, (May 1999) by local Houghton County  former Marines.  Our purpose is “To serve and aid Marines, their families, Veterans and local community, through promoting and observing the principles and purpose of the Marine Corps League.”  We serve the Houghton /Baraga/Keweenaw/Ontonagon Counties and aid as necessary other counties.

We are the largest of the five Marine Corps League Detachments in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  As part of the National and Department of Michigan Marine Corps League, we are a tax exempt, not for profit organization, and have access to some help from them to achieve our local goals.

The Keweenaw Detachment #1016, is an organization primarily made up of men and women who have honorably served or still serve our country in the United States Marine Corps. They range from Marine veterans of the present War on Terrorism  to WWII Marines.  The Detachment also welcomes, (and has), Associate Members from other branches of the military as well as non veterans who support our goals.

The Keweenaw Detachment provides assistance to all Veterans with benefit questions or concerns by establishing proper avenues of contact for them and their families and has provided direct help during times of distress and offers the continuing comradeship of the brotherhood of Marines.       We aid as much as possible the hospitalized veterans in Iron Mountain, in the D.J.Jacobetti Home for Veterans in Marquette, through the “Marines Helping Marines” program, as well as sending packages to our local active duty Marines in harms way.

We have Detachment Scholarships which are now being given out.

Our newsletter is provided to all members and includes information on the happenings of the detachment and other affairs of interest to the detachment. Our members also receive a National Marine Corps League “SEMPER FI” Magazine and a State Magazine the “Michigan Marine News”.

The detachment has, in the past, participated and won some awards in the National MCL Rifle/Pistol Postal Matches where shooters have their scores entered in the national competition, but due to a very busy schedule we do not participate in the shooting match every year.

We have annually a Detachment Picnic in the summer, and a Marine Corps Birthday Party in November.

Our Color Guard/Honor Guard participates in many parades and ceremonies throughout the year.  A full military funeral service is available to all Marines through our Color Guard/Honor Guard. Our members also lend support to the Copper Country Veterans Assoc. with their veteran funeral service activities throughout the area at many funerals.

The Keweenaw Detachment has supported the United States Marine Corps Reserve “Toys for Tots” program throughout all four counties for the past ten years as we are the Official Local Community Organization for the “Toys for Tots”.  The “Toys for Area Youth” Fund Drive has been established by the detachment to provide necessary items to complete wish lists for the “Toys for Tots” program, and to provide funds as needed during the year for children’s needs when called for. This fund has been “tapped” during the years several times.

The Keweenaw Detachment has helped within the community when a call for assistance is made whether  for the raising of funds or of physical help, and we have also been supportive of other Veteran Organizations.

Every year we place over 1200 United States flags on veterans graves at the Forest Hill Cemetery above Houghton before Memorial Day, where they remain until after the 4th of July.

Since our area youth are very important, the detachment offers assistance to the Cub Scouts/Boy Scouts and there is the availability of a Young Marines program, a Physical Fitness program, also H.S. band awards to area schools.  The fitness program scores are on the accomplishments of all children.

Our only limitation is the manpower and time to do all that we would like to do.

To become a Member -or- Associate Member of our Detachment, a Marine veteran or another person who supports our goals, is only required to pay a yearly dues of $30.00.  A Life Membership with the costs scaled according to age is also available to members in good standing.

Detachment meetings are 7:00pm, the third Thursday of the month, normally at the VFW hall in South Range.

For more information, visit our web site at

posted on 2/18/2012 8:26 AM by Todd Brassard | permalink | Back to Top

CopperDog positively impacts Copper Country

CALUMET - In a sense, the CopperDog 150 is the Copper Country's Super Bowl.

And, just as Sunday's big game will impact its host city Indianapolis far beyond the game itself, the March 2 to 4 CopperDog will have a significant impact to the Copper Country beyond just a sled dog race, particularly in terms of community vitality.

And just like any major event that draws thousands of spectators, the CopperDog costs thousands of dollars to put on. Organizers are using the race's two previous years and their extensive combined event management background to ensure the $45,000-50,000 budget for the race is raised and used responsibly, ultimately benefiting the community in the long run.

"Sometimes people ask me, where does all the money go?" race director Todd Brassard said. "Fortunately, our Finance and Liability committee really knows what they are doing, and all of our records are in great shape."

The Finance and Liability committee is one of six committees which makes up the CopperDog 150 subcommittee of the promotions committee of Main Street Calumet, the nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that ultimately oversees the event.

"Putting on the Copper Dog 150 - or any event - requires financial integrity. That is what our sponsors, donors, volunteers, participants and the public expect in addition to planning an exciting race and race-related activities," said Finance and Liability Chair Jo Cauvin, whose event management background includes an NCAA Final Four and Frozen Four, Junior Olympics and even working with the Super Bowl XL Host Committee. "Through careful budgeting and cash flow considerations, the CD 150 is strong and continues to grow."

Though the CopperDog's organization sounds like a complex hierarchy, it is actually an efficient managerial structure, ensuring detailed breakdowns of every aspect of the event. The other five CD 150 committees are sponsorship, community outreach/events, fundraising/merchandising, marketing/PR and race planning.

Race planning alone requires $39,135, including a $23,000 race purse; $4,000 for the snow road in downtown Calumet; $3,400 for veterinarians, medicine and race judges; plus money for trail grooming, snowmobile usage, an awards banquet, food charges, insurances, permits and more.

"It take a lot of money to have a dog race," summed up CD 150 treasurer Pam Hecht.

To determine the cost for this year's race, Hecht looked closely at last year's records and organized the expenses into each committee, then pressed each committee for more detail on each expense.

"We started back in early summer with each committee really looking at what they need for a budget to make their plans work for this race," she said. "By the end of December, all committees had a financial plan put together for me. At the present time I'm putting the final budget together for our club meeting in February."

Something perhaps surprisingly absent from that budget was labor.

"Some people out there think that the planners of the CD 150 somehow make money off the event," Brassard said. "Nothing could be further from the truth. The CD 150 is 100 percent staffed by volunteers."

Even still, with less than a month to go until the race, organizers have collected about $24,000 of the budgeted $32,000 in sponsorships. About 70 percent of the CD 150's total operating funds come from sponsorships, which are broken down into several levels depending on amount.

"Sponsorship and volunteers are the lifeblood of the CopperDog 150," sponsorship chair Abbey Green said. "Without the community leaders and our local businesses we would not be able to run an amazing event or promote economic vitality in the community like we do."

River Valley Bank is the CopperDog's marquee, or "Lead Dog," sponsor. Portage Health is a "Point Dog" sponsor, along with The Daily Mining Gazette, Wolf Radio and ABC10, whose collective media presence helps garner national recognition for an already popular regional race. Copper Country Rentals and AmericInn of Calumet help as "Wheel Dog" sponsors by providing free snowmobile rentals for trail workers and housing race officials and vets, respectively.

Countless other business have stepped forward to help with finances, logistics and promotion, and much of the sponsorship money comes in $200 to $300 at a time.

One business owner, Frank Fiala, who owns 5th & Elm Coffeehouses in Calumet and Houghton, has sponsored the race each year and has upped his commitment this year.

"I was one of the original planners for the race and from our experiences with sled dog racing when we lived in Alaska, (so) I knew firsthand what such an event could do for the local economy," Fiala said. "It has and it will only get better."

And the CopperDog is still looking for both sponsors and volunteers, both of whom can easily get involved online at

"This will be year three for the CopperDog and the event gets bigger and better every year. ... The (community) impact is substantial," said Tom Tikkanen, Main Street Calumet executive director. "We commend the hundreds of volunteers and all communities. This is truly a Keweenaw community effort."

posted on 2/4/2012 9:00 AM by Todd Brassard | permalink | Back to Top

Event Integrity

From the business perspective, the CopperDog 150 (CD150) is a subcommittee of the promotions committee of Main Street Calumet, a Michigan non-profit organization, operating under Section 501 (c)(3) of the IRS code.  Within the CD150 are six committees of which Finance/Liability is one.  Our committee strives to work closely with Main Street Calumet to keep track of the CopperDog 150 financial and legal obligations in accordance with their requirements.

Putting on the CopperDog 150 (or any event) requires financial integrity.  That is what our sponsors, donors, volunteers, participants and the public expect in addition to planning an exciting race and race-related activities.  Through careful budgeting and cash flow considerations, the CD150 is strong and continues to grow.   Working with the financial and legal aspects of the event, which includes proper money management, trail permits, insurance, etc. has helped us develop the process and procedures that can assure growth (as well as a lot of fun).

As our Race Director Todd Brassard has so eloquently said time and again, “nobody gets paid a dime for planning or working on this race.  The entire organization is made up of volunteers who are committed to the success of our home towns.”  The community vitality generated by the CD150 promotes a positive image of downtown Calumet, our Eagle Harbor and Copper Harbor checkpoints as well as the trail system we are so fortunate to have in the Keweenaw.

In order for all of us to have a successful event requires sponsorship and donations.  With less than one month to race day, we still need to raise more funds in order to have the best-yet sled dog race in the copper country.  We have many ideas that can enhance race weekend in March and in future years, but it does take money and support from all of us—businesses and government, organizations, volunteers, and the public.   Knowing what it takes to put on this event gives each of us the opportunity to see how we can help improve our community vitality, build our community pride and have a good time doing it.

Personally, I have been involved with the Copper Dog 150 for the last three years and on our committee’s board as chair of the Finance and Liability Committee for seven months.  I had the opportunity to sit in on many of the CD committee meetings during the planning for the 2011 race as well as this year.  My background includes serving in various volunteer management positions with many non-profit organizations including the NCAA Frozen Four local organizing committee, NCAA Final Four local organizing committee, Super Bowl XL Host Committee, the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, Junior Olympics, etc., as well as many years in public television.  These experiences have provided me an overall perspective, as well as the day-to-day business needs, of planning, developing and executing a major event. 

It is the Copper Dog 150 and these types of events that involve individuals from all parts of our community irrespective of their own personal background.  It is something that brings us together and helps us get to know, appreciate and respect one another and our individual talents—all things essential to developing community vitality.

posted on 2/3/2012 12:38 AM by Todd Brassard | permalink | Back to Top
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