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2014 Races - Letter to Mushers


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

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

Calendar Conflict with UP200/Midnight Run

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

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

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

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

CopperDog 40 Rec-Class Race

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

CopperDog 40 Details

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

CopperDog 150 Pro-Class Race

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

Dog Pool (with a Twist)

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

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

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

CopperDog 150 Details

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

Pool Rules

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

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

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

Purse and Registration Fees

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

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

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

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

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

The cancellation schedule is as follows:

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

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

Thank You!

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

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

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

Calling All Food Vendors!

If you are a food vendor, CopperDog wants you ... and your food! (We want you even if you're not a food vendor, but that's another issue.)

CopperDog is currently accepting food vendor applications for the Friday night (Friday, February 28, 2014) race start event. That Friday night, thousands of people will converge on historic downtown Calumet, all of them wanting food and drinks. Last year nearly 6000 people attended the race start. This year we are expecting 5000-7000 people. We want those people to come hungry and to be able to get some food while they watch the race.

CopperDog is not just about sled dogs. It's about community involvement and vitality. It's about creating a great event that brings people together. Having food and drinks available is part of this vision. And the better the entire vendor program, the better the individual success of each vendor.

To ensure that spectators and vendors have a good experience CopperDog is introducing a Vendor Facilitation Program. Our goal is to identify great locations for vendors to set up shop, with easy access to for spectators. Power will be provided, and CopperDog will coordinate with vendors to avoid duplication of menus. CopperDog will advertise and promote vendor menus and provide location maps to the public. We will also be campaigning for people to come early, come hungry, and have dinner downtown during the race start. And we will work to retain a balance between downtown Calumet restaurants and vendor services.

For more information, and to fill out an application, please contact Renee Cunningham at To see a copy of the application Please click here.

posted on 1/21/2013 11:03 AM by Todd Brassard | permalink | Back to Top
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