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Our Mission

To develop charitable, educational and benevolent activities dedicated to the enrichment, development, and vitality of communities, natural resources and trail systems in Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula through world-class events, creating informational and educational opportunities, encouraging national recognition, specifically with respect to advancing national and international sled dog sports including sled dog racing and an understanding of the historic role of sled dogs in a natural environment.

posted on 9/23/2012 10:31 PM by Todd Brassard | permalink | Back to Top

What Is CopperDog?

Hey! Let’s organize a sled dog race!

That’s what a small group of people said in 2009, and from that initial idea the CopperDog 150 and CopperDog 40 sled dog races were born.

Both races usually run the first weekend in March. The CopperDog 150 features teams of ten dogs and covers 150 miles in three days, while the CopperDog 40 features teams of six dogs and covers approximately forty miles in one day. The CopperDog 150 caps at thirty teams and the CopperDog 40 caps at fifteen teams. Which means the first weekend in March finds 350+ dogs racing through Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula.

The CopperDog 150, and now the CopperDog 80 and CopperDog 25 instead of the CopperDog 40, are organized by CopperDog, Inc., a 501(c)3 organization located in Calumet, Michigan, a small town in the middle of the Keweenaw Peninsula – a narrow finger of land on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula that juts into the middle of Lake Superior.  With an average annual snowfall of 241 inches it’s the perfect place for … well, a sled dog race.

Since its beginning the CopperDog races have attracted mushers from around the world. While many mushers come from the Midwest, each race usually has several Canadian mushers competing – and in 2011 and 2012 a musher from South Africa competed.

CopperDog is definitely a labor of love. It is an entirely volunteer operation, with more than 500 volunteers helping to put the race on. Local residents help mushers with their dogs, provide housing, and oversee trail crossings. Local police and fire departments volunteer their time to man all highway crossings and ensure the safety of all volunteers and participants. On its business end, CopperDog, Inc. is run by an unpaid volunteer board of directors.

CopperDog is more than just two sled dog races. In addition to promoting community vitality through sled dog racing, CopperDog strives to provide education on the history and sport of sled dog racing. Numerous public events – such as classroom visits, volunteer training, “Meet the Dogs” events, and free sled dog rides - are held throughout the year.

CopperDog is always looking for new volunteers. If you’d like to work with a great group of people and be part of one of the MOST FUN winter events you’ll ever see, please contact us. We can’t do it without you!

posted on 9/23/2012 9:38 PM by Lesley DuTemple | permalink | Back to Top

Board Chair - Doug Harrer

Past Asst. Race Director & Calumet Director

Doug Harrer, was born and raised in Mundelein Illinois. He and his parents moved to Upper Peninsula in 1990 after vacationing here for a few years. Doug is the District Manager with Ferrellgas. Doug is also a trustee of the Calumet Village. He really enjoys everything that he does in the community.

In the beginning years as the race was being put together, the Calumet Village Council was asked to put a representative on the Copperdog board. Doug, being Doug, said he would do it. He really thought that it would be great for businesses in the community during the slow part of the year. Little did he know what it would really do for our area. Soon, Doug learned the basics of mushing and planning a race. His interest and enthusiasm grew as the race got closer. Doug was one of Calumet's firsts hookers. He is very proud to be the first hooker. The part of the race that really led Doug to commit to the race was working road crossings. When he saw that first team go through the crossing he knew he wanted to do more with the race, that is when he stepped up. In 2010 Doug was the clear choice to Chair the Copperdog 150 board. Doug's insight, patience, experience, big heart, and temperament made him the clear and perfect choice for the position. Doug is able to bring everyone together. He is known for taking the time to listen and understand everyone's points of views.

Doug also served as the Asst. Race Director back in March of 2011. Doug played a big part in establishing the infrastructure and processes of Copperdog that would make it successful and sustainable for the many years to come. As fresh faces were added to the board, Doug was re-elected as the Chair. He worked many hours with new people to build new committees that would be vital to the race. Doug has stepped back a bit but he has not stepped away in these past few years. He still knows the answer to every question and knows this race like the back of his hand. Doug does not like to be given the credit he truly deserves but he helps makes this race what it is. Doug believes that between the beautiful terrain of the Keweenaw Peninsula, the dedication of mushers to their sport, and the ongoing support of local business, the CopperDog 150 will be one of the most prestigious sled-dog races in the Midwest. Doug is honored and humbled to say he's been a part of the adventure since day one. One thing only the people that really know Doug is that he is a really big hearted guy. He is a dedicated husband to his wife Amy of almost 20 years. He has two kids, Sadie and Maddie. Between work, being a trustee on the Calumet Village, and a major part of Copperdog he still is the best husband a father. He has a kind heart and his wife and kids are so proud of everything he does. He really is one of the hidden but main faces of Copperdog 150 and we do not know what we would do without him.

posted on 11/16/2011 7:09 AM by Jim Northey | permalink | Back to Top

Vice Chair - Jon Koskiniemi

Jon Koskiniemi was born and raised in Laurium. He works at Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital and has been the Laurium Village Treasurer since 2002. Jon is one of our longest serving board members. We are quite fortunate that Jon agreed to serve as Vice Chair.

Jon has been a volunteer to the CopperDog 150 every year since the inception of the race. After being a dog handler for the first race Jon knew he was hooked. If you have attended a race then you probably have seen him in action.

Over the years, Jon has worn many hats: manning road crossings, building snow fence, helping with Kid's rides, organizing the Pasty Luncheon, musher parking, working the starts releasing teams to the shot, helping obtain sponsorships, being the coordinator for the Awards Banquet, catering the community appreciation night, race planning, and helping with the CopperDog for kids event at the Rozsa Center.

posted on 1/1/2018 1:50 AM by Jim Northey | permalink | Back to Top

Assistant Race Director - Kelly Probst (Board Secretary)

Kelly has moved on to take on the role of Assistant Race Director this year, She continues to serve as a member of the board of directors as the board secretary,

Kelly Probst has called Eagle Harbor home for nearly 20 years. Originally from Milwaukee, she vacationed every summer in Eagle Harbor which is where she met her husband Rich. Rich and Kelly have been married for 17 years and have three children, Richard, Taylor, and Kate, all of whom have grown up around the CopperDog.

Kelly first got involved with Copperdog 150 during its second year. Copperdog changed its path, and Eagle Harbor became check point #1 on Friday night. Kelly volunteered to be a dog handler that year and then every year after. You are more likely to recognize her as the face who greeted you on Saturday morning at the Eagle Harbor Inn as the mushers, teams, volunteers and race directors made their way in for coffee, food, and coffee.

2018 Copperdog offered a different opportunity as Kelly took up the Eagle Harbor Check Point Coordinator position. As Check Point Coordinator Kelly was approached by Doug Harrer to consider a position on the CopperDog board, which she accepted in the fall of 2019. As a new CD Board Member and EH Check Point Coordinator, Kelly is excited to get to know the CD family and the art of dog racing

Kelly is on the right in the picture standing next to our previous and long serving Eagle Harbor Coordinator Sandi Boggio at the Eagle Harbor Inn

Treasurer - Doug King

The CopperDog is pleased to have Doug King step into service as our treasurer following the retirement of Walt Kiiskila last year. We look forward to working with Doug in his new role on the CopperDog board of directors.

Doug was born in Grand Rapids, Mi and raised in Sparta, Mi. Upon graduation from high school he attended and graduated from Northern Michigan University in elementary education. While a student at NMU he met Beth Coltman, a graduate of Calumet High School. Beth introduced Doug to her beloved Copper Country, or as she calls it, “God’s Country”. He and Beth married after graduation and moved down state. After living in lower Michigan for eight years Doug accepted a teaching position just south of Atlanta, GA. Doug and Beth taught school in Georgia for many years before retiring. After living in Georgia for 31 years, Doug and Beth moved to “God’s Country” in September 2019, and now reside about 100 yards from her childhood home in Laurium, where her brother, Ross Coltman, resides.

Doug and Beth have three married daughters and ten grandchildren.

posted on 2/24/2021 8:52 PM by Jim Northey | permalink | Back to Top

Race Volunteer Leadership

The CopperDog 150 would not be possible with the incredible community support and the incredible number of volunteers that come together each year.

This year's leadership is shown below. Maybe next year you can be part of the leadership team that serves the CopperDog150 race, our dog teams and mushers, our volunteers (including you?), and visitors that enjoy the awe inspiring experience of seeing sled dog teams up close and in action.

Click Here To Find Your Volunteer Opportunity!

posted on 1/30/2018 10:04 PM by Jim Northey | permalink | Back to Top

Chief Communications - Bill LaBell

Bill moved to the small U.P. town of Allouez from Southeast Michigan in 1992. He is the owner / mechanic of Quincy Hill Auto Repair. He has been a amateur radio operator (Ham) since 2008.

On most Sundays in the summer time he can be found at the Houghton County Historical Society running their 1915 Steam Locomotive.  He is also the Vice President/Treasurer of the Keweenaw County Repeater Association, Inc..

He has been with the CopperDog since its first year, where he worked radio at a road crossing and then the finish. The second year he assisted at net control and then ran it for the 2012 and 2013 races. Net control is the communications center and also where social media updates take place during the race.

For the 2014 race, his responsibilities will include running net control, recruiting and assigning radio volunteers. Radio operators consist of amateur radio operators (Hams) and local firemen.  A radio operator's responsibilities are to report crossing times and most important to relay all safety communications.

posted on 12/17/2012 3:10 PM by Todd Brassard | permalink | Back to Top

Krissy Kovachich Tepsa - Board Member, Volunteer Director, Musher Liaison

Krissy has been volunteering for Copper Dog since year one. This year she takes on the Volunteer Coordinator role from Brian Donnelly, in addition to her responsibilities as the primary contact for our mushers in her role as Musher Liaison. She started out dog handling and working at several different crossings. Since 2015 she has been the Vet Check Leader at River Valley Bank. In 2016 she added the role of Vet Check Leader in Copper Harbor.

This list doesn't begin to cover all the aspects of the race in which Krissy participates.

posted on 12/21/2017 9:27 PM by Jim Northey | permalink | Back to Top

Graphics Design - Amber Voght

Amber is a graduate of Michigan Tech and is employed at Itiviti Group AB where she is responsible for technical documentation. Amber previously was the head of marketing for The LaSalle Technology Group, LLC, which was acquired by Itiviti in 2015. Amber grew up in Houghton, Michigan and is an avid outdoor person and adventurer. She and her family regularly volunteer for the CopperDog 150.

posted on 1/20/2018 12:26 AM by Jim Northey | permalink | Back to Top

Senior Race Advisor - Meredith LaBeau

past Asst. Race Director, Race Director

Meredith LaBeau is the Process Engineering Manager with Calumet Electronics Corp., a leader in the manufacturing of high-performance printed circuit boards (PCBs). Meredith earned her PhD from Michigan Technological University researching future impacts of phosphorus on surface water quality in the Great Lakes Basin. Currently, she has been living in the Houghton/Hancock area for eight years with her husband Mike and daughter Cyra.

In 2011, Meredith became involved in the CopperDog 150 through a friend that played an active role in sponsorship and banners.  Meredith has always loved dogs, as her house door says “Every dog has his day (English)”, therefore volunteering with the Copperdog 150 was a natural fit.

Meredith stepped up her contributions in 2011/2012 taking on the duties of Asst. Race Director taking very active roles in key areas of planning the 2012 race.  The combination of Meredith's insight, drive, and focus on doing "the right thing" made her a perfect candidate for Race Director going into 2013/2014 season.  In August, 2013 Meredith was voted into the Race Director position for the 2014 race. In 2015 Meredith took a more behind-the-scenes role management many of the technical aspects of planning race weekend. Meredith returned as race director successfully leading two more seasons in 2016 and 2017. We are grateful that Meredith continues to help as a senior race advisor.

posted on 2/14/2016 8:23 AM by Jim Northey | permalink | Back to Top

Senior Race Adviser- Todd Brassard

past Executive Director
past Race Director
past Marketing Director
past Technical Director

Todd Brassard is part engineer, part musician, part designer and a community activist who loves planning amazing events like the CopperDog 150 and PJ Olsson's Rock Camp.

For his day job, Todd is VP/COO at Calumet Electronics, a world-leader in the fabrication of high-performance printed circuit boards. Todd also works alongside his wife, Jessie Brassard, on various video and web projects side projects via Brassard Media. Jessie is a design guru and responsible for creation and evolution of the CopperDog 150 logo and much of CopperDog's strong branding elements.

Todd was introduced to the sport of mushing when he was recruited by Adam Johnson of Brockit and Karyn Olsson of the Upper Peninsula Marketing Department to produce a promotional video for Brewery Creek Racing.

Todd fell victim to charm of the dogs and the beauty of the sport.  In 2009, When he learned of a sled-dog race being organized for the Keweenaw, he volunteered his services (web programming) and his wife's talent (graphic design) and put together a web site for the event (

Todd joined the CopperDog Board and soon found himself working very closely with the CopperDog 150's founding Race Director, Brian Tiura.  Tiura was an inspiring leader for Todd and the newbie race planners. His "press on regardless" attitude demonstrated the conviction necessary to plan and execute such a large event.

Todd assumed the role of Race Director for 2011 when Tiura moved to Alaska. In this new role he imparted what he had learned from Brian, introduced some of his own ideas, and worked closely with other very smart people who really loved the event.

With one race under his belt, an amazing core planning team, and growing community buy-in, Todd focused on upping the "production value" of the CopperDog 150 in 2011/2012 by planning an ESPN worthy Friday night start, improving hospitality for the growing numbers of fans, and setting a more relaxed schedule for mushers and their dog teams. He also developed an online volunteer system to make it easier for volunteers to get involved race weekend.

Todd has served in various roles over the last few years and has stepped up to the role of Race Director for the 2015 race. Todd motto is "Happy healthy dogs, happy healthy mushers", which has recently been revised to include "Happy healthy volunteers!"

posted on 11/12/2014 5:05 PM by Todd Brassard | permalink | Back to Top

Contact Us

CopperDog, Inc.
P.O. Box 384
Calumet, MI 49913
MICS# 48044

John Bryant
Race Director

Kelly Probst
Asst. Race Director

Joni Bennett
Sponsorship Director

Krissy Kovachich
Volunteer Director
Musher Liaison
Adopt a Musher

Website Support

Board of Directors

Doug Harrer, Chair

Jon Koskiniemi, Vice Chairr

Kelly Probst, Secretary

Doug King, Treasurer

Joni Bennett, Board Member

H.A. Kiko de Melo e Silva, Board Member

Jim Northey, Board Member

Copyright (C) 2010 - 2023 Todd Brassard. All rights reserved.