CopperDog 150 kicks off Friday

This photo from the Keweenaw Traveler Facebook page shows musher Geri Minard at the start a past CopperDog event. (Courtesy photo)

HOUGHTON — With the CopperDog 150 kicking off Friday, there’s much to be excited about. The mushers are ecstatic to return to the Copper Country for some fun.

The pre-race opening ceremony is set for 6:30 p.m. Friday, and the races will begin at 7 p.m. on Fifth Street in Calumet.

CopperDog 80 winner of 2017, musher Geri Minard of Newberry, 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.

For a full list of events, visit