CALUMET — They say to let sleeping dogs lie and if they ran in this weekend’s CopperDog 150 or 40 they deserve the rest.
Four hundred sled dogs hit the trails Friday night racing in the single stage 40 mile race or the grueling three–stage run that took the mushers to the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula and back to where the race began in Calumet.
Race Director Kim Pici said things got off on the right paw Friday and continued through the entire weekend.
“I think everything—the volunteers, the weather, the trail,” Pici said. “We spend weeks and weeks with KTS and our trail crew and all the people that we sit here and talk about it. And the other good thing is, I’ve talked to many snowmobilers and they’ve been awesome this weekend. All of them know about the dogs on the trail, they’ve seen them. The etiquette on the trail, if you want to call it, has been fantastic. So, we’ve got a lot of people that helped put this together and make it a success.”
And the word from the trails was things were going smoothly.
“I have not had one person say, ‘I am never doing this again!’ People are excited—they’re glad to be back,” Pici said. ” I’ve had two people that have mushers that they’re handlers for and they came this very first race they’ve been to of ours and they said, ‘Wow, we’re impressed so far!’ So, that’s a good for the CopperDog family to hear.”
Things definitely went smoothly for Minnesota resident and 2015 CopperDog 150 Champion Dennis LaBoda who’s third stage surge was enough to pass two teams that started the day ahead of him.
“I’ve been racing for forty years and I’ve come in last and I’ve come in first and I love racing and I came here with the idea if we can be in the top five we would be happy,” LaBoda said. “There’s a bunch of great racers here.”
Of course the mushers have to work hard but in the end it’s the dogs that deserve the credit.
“My dogs are beautiful,” LaBoda said. “They’re healthy, happy, eating and running great. Jester and Rhea are my top leaders of the moment. That can change but these dogs have been racing this year and just doing great. This was a great trail throughout the race. We left here Friday night in the moonlight and on a nice fast trail, you get three good runs and we’ve had a few good ones in this race.”
In the minds of veteran mushers like Dennis LaBoda the CopperDog can no longer be considered an up–and–coming sled dog race.
After 6 years this race has solidified its spot among the top races in the sport.
“The CopperDog at the moment is one of the premiere races in the lower forty–eight, in North America,” LaBoda said. ” It’s just come together so well and it’s such a great location to be doing it and to create a history of sled dog racing here is just an awesome thing.”
In the CopperDog 150 Al Borak finished in 2nd Place with last year’s champion Jake Golton coming in 3rd.
In the CopperDog 40 on Friday defending champion Matt Sturmer was again the winner with Chad Schouweiler 2nd and Lynne Witte coming in 3rd.
CALUMET -- The 2015 CopperDog 150 has officially come to a close. Across the finish line first was Chad Grentz from Michigan.
"We wanted to finish at least one day with a good strong finish,” he said. “We did today we had an excellent run. Nine came in strong, happy, tails wagging and that's what we look for."
Mushers described this weekend’s weather as ideal for sled dog racing.
"Trail conditions were excellent,” said Grentz. “There was a nice breeze, kept the snow cool on top. It was a good fast trail."
The winner this year was Dennis Laboda. He's been mushing since 1973 and has participated in this race since its first year.
"I'm still soaking it in,” said Laboda. “This is a legitimate success because this is a really competitive race here so; I'm just proud of our dogs and happy to do it, to be on top, what a great day for me."
With the 6th annual CopperDog 150 officially in the books organizers called it a success thanks to the thousands of spectators and hundreds of volunteers.
"We've been here many years watching the dogs and it's exciting,” said Shirley Zimmerman. “I guess everybody gets about as excited as the dogs do. It's just an event that we enjoy in the Copper Country."
"It definitely will go in as a success in many ways,” said Race Director Kim Pici. “We've hit some bumps along the road, but that's what it's all about. We've already got a running log of, "hey next year we need to do this," so we're going to just keep getting better and working harder and harder every year."
20 of the 21 teams that started the race crossed the finish line today and they were all within about an hour of each other. For more specific race standings you can visit the CopperDog 150 website.
The 6th Annual CopperDog 150/40 sled dog races are quickly approaching and we are preparing to host another successful race.
Safety has always been our organizations top priority- for the dogs, for the mushers, for the community, and for our army of volunteers that it takes to put on this event.
This coming Saturday, February 21st, we will once again host our All Volunteer Training session. CopperDog has heard a large amount feedback in the past from those mushers who have run our race; they tell us we are one of the few races that actually train our volunteers.
Please join us at the Calumet High School this coming Saturday from 11:00am until 1:00pm.
You will hear from many of the organizers of the race, be able to ask questions, and will get a chance to actually assist with the handling of a sled dog team. This being one of the more physical jobs, we suggest you attend the training if you have never volunteered for this position. It’s a lot of fun but these dogs are strong!
We look forward to seeing you this Saturday! Thanks again to all our volunteers- we couldn’t do it without your hard work and dedication.
The CopperDog 150 is pleased to announce an increase in the sport class CD40 purse. The board has voted to extend the number of mushers in the race to welcome all interested mushers on the waiting list. With this change, we have also added additional money in the purse and increased the payout to 6th place. The new purse is as follows:
The sixth annual CopperDog 150 sled-dog competition is fast approaching and will be held Friday, February 27 – Sunday, March 1. In conjunction with the 2015 competition, the CopperDog 150 will be hosting a unique opportunity for veterinarians and mushers to attend an in-depth learning session on topics pertaining to veterinary sports medicine and rehabilitation. The educational seminar will be held on Thursday, February 26, 1PM – 5PM at the Irish Times in Laurium. To learn more about the seminar, write to Pam Hecht at email@example.com or call Pam at 906-337-2274.
“CopperDog is not only dedicated to community vitality, we are also focused on advancing the sport of mushing with educational opportunities, usually with kids, but now we are giving back to our veterinary team and pro-mushers by providing an opportunity to learn from a master, Mike Davis, and receive continuing educational credits as part of the package”, says Todd Brassard, long-time CopperDog planner.
The seminar will be conducted by Michael Davis, a 20 year licensed veterinarian and board certified specialist in veterinary internal medicine, and a PhD in physiology from Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Davis has received over $8 million in research funding to study the effects of exercise stress in animal models, particularly racing sled dogs and military explosive detection dogs. This work has resulted in detailed metabolic studies of the occult effects of stress, including mechanistic descriptions of the effects of occult stress on various organ systems.
The seminar on February 26 will be focused on (1) gastrointestinal disease, (2) hyperthermia, (3) muscle adaptations to endurance exercise, and (4) immune function in the endurance athlete. The 2015 CopperDog Veterinary Seminar is an exciting opportunity for veterinarians, mushers, and anyone interested in an in-depth exploration in veterinary sports medicine.
Participants must register by February 24. The registration fee is $40.00.
For more information about the continuing education seminar or the CopperDog 150, please write to Pam Hecht at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Pam at 906-337-2274.
We are very pleased to announce that CopperDog volunteer veteran, Kim Pici, will be taking on the role of Race Director for the 2015 CopperDog 150 event.
In its first five years, the CopperDog 150 has benefited greatly from many dedicated volunteers who have been willing to take great responsibility by serving in key leadership roles. Through the efforts of these key people, CopperDog has earned a place in the hearts and minds of many and continues to serve as inspiration to all of us.
From time to time a true gem is revealed in the ranks of people who love what the CopperDog 150 is all about. These are people who are deeply inspired by the community and the desire to show the world that we can do some really amazing things in the Keweenaw. These are the people who donate many hours of their time and make personal sacrifices to bring the CopperDog to our streets and trails. Amongst all of the amazing CopperDog 150 people, Kim Pici stands out as a true leader.
Kim Pici has been with the CopperDog 150 since 2011 where she first volunteered as a dog-handler. Since then Kim has worked or planned almost every key role within the organization, occupied a seat on the Board of Directors, and served in several race director positions. Kim has worked closely with everyone on the CopperDog’s race planning team, represented CopperDog at numerous events, and worked the public relations circuit with appearances on television and radio shows. Since 2012, Kim has aspired to gain the necessary skills and experience to serve in the role of race director.
Operating as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, CopperDog, Inc. has been working through long term sustainability strategies for the on-going success of CopperDog into the future. One key aspect to a winning strategy, is infusing the organization with fresh faces and enthusiastic newcomers. Also, the old-timers who have planned many of the past races need to make room for up and coming volunteers to take the helm and have a turn growing and developing this great event.
On Thursday, January 8, as the last item on the race planning team’s agenda, Kim Pici, was asked to assume the role of Race Director for the 2015 event. With more than a little humility she agreed to take on the role with a pledge of confidence and support from the race planning team. Kim will lead the CopperDog core planning team which includes Pam Hecht, Renee Cunningham, Doug Harrer, Abbey Green, Meredith LaBeau and Todd Brassard, as well as, have the full backing of the Board of Directors.
It’s well known within the ranks of CopperDog that Kim has wanted to take on the role of Race Director for a couple of years, but she refused to take on the role before she was ready, preferring to learn the ins and outs of the event and organization. The race is in great hands with a strong team of race planners and board members under her leadership to help plan and execute the best CopperDog 150 competition yet.
With considerable pleasure, we are happy to announce that Kim Pici has earned the right and obtained her goal of serving in the role of Race Director for the 2015 CopperDog 150!
by Coffey Lover Kim Pici ; Friday, January 16, 2015
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!