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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

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

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

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 - Kim Pici (Board Member)

Kim first became involved as a dog-handler in 2011 after seeing the race for the first time. As Kim recounts, "I ended up coming to Copper Harbor bright and early on Sunday to serve as a dog handler and realized I wanted to be a part of this event. I work with Doug Harrer's wife who put me in touch with Doug." As with many of our leaders each year, Kim expanded her role.

In 2012, she became the Chief Bag Handler and sat in on all the board meetings to listen and learn. Kim was nominated and accepted a seat on the CD Board in 2013. In 2013/2014 she served as Assistant Race Director, along with assisting with bringing teams to the line throughout Race weekend, parking, Vet Checks and all around gal Friday. Kim also assisted with numerous interviews with local radio and was a contributing writer to the CD web site.

In 2015, Kim was asked to serve as the CD Race Director and she accepted. She also served as the Checkpoint Coordinator, took care of Musher packets, Vet packets, Official packets, PR interviews- it was a year for year for all sorts of tasks and she loved it! In 2016, she took a couple years off to rest and recuperate. In 2018 she was asked to rejoin the CopperDog150 Board of Directors and accepted.

Kim lives in Lake Linden and no surprise, is a huge dog lover. Kim even dog sits for a local musher and longtime CopperDog supporter/ participant, Jerry Trudell. She even has found the time for a day job; she is the Diagnostic Imaging Manager at Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital (one of the key supporters and sponsors of the CopperDog150).

posted on 1/28/2019 10:52 PM by Jim Northey | permalink | Back to Top

Merchandise - Rob Greenhoe

Rob has been a long term volunteer with the CopperDog 150. Rob is a member of the CopperDog Board of Directors and has been responsible for merchandise. Wearing many hats, Rob also helps ensure that our sponsors are properly represented and publicized.

posted on 1/1/2018 1:41 AM by Erin Barnett | permalink | Back to Top

Sponsorship - Walt Kiiskila

Walt is a long time volunteer to the CopperDog 150 and a member of the Board of Directors. Walt has worn many hats over the years. He is leading sponsorships this year.

posted on 1/1/2018 1:44 AM by Jim Northey | permalink | Back to Top

Banquets - 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 our newest member of the Board of Directors.

Jon has been a volunteer to the CopperDog150 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

Race Director - Jeff Foss

Jeff’s first taste of the Keweenaw occurred when he arrived for school at Michigan Tech to pursue a degree in Mechanical Engineering. Soon after arriving he fell in love with the Copper Country and spent much time exploring it’s wonders. Before leaving he had found a passion for organic gardening. This led Jeff into his first career as an organic vegetable farmer, which he did for 15 years, mostly in the Madison, WI area suppling local restaurants there.

His love of the Keweenaw never faded. He returned to the Copper Country in 2011 with his family. Wanting to support the local communities, he saw the CopperDog as a great way to do that. He was recruited into the position of Trail Boss at that time, which was quite the introduction to the world of sled dog racing. From there he spent four years as the Trail Director where he worked closely with the Race Director. This is Jeff's first year as Race Director. His experience as the Trail Director and his work with International Frisbee Inc. as the Tournament Director for the International Frisbee Tournament, the oldest Frisbee tournament in the world, have prepared him well for the challenges of leading a 400 person volunteer organization that spans the entire Keweenaw.

posted on 12/21/2017 10:51 PM by Jim Northey | permalink | Back to Top

Resource Coordinator - Jamie Thyrion

Jamie is excited to serve as Resource Coordinator and to celebrate the 10th annual running of the CopperDog 150. She grew up in Ahmeek, MI and is a graduate of Calumet High School. She attended Finlandia University graduating with her BBA in Entrepreneurial and Small Business Management in 2008. She immediately began her career in banking and is the Market Manager of River Valley Bank in Calumet. Since the race inception, River Valley Bank has been the lead dog sponsor donating $10,000 each year to the race purse. Jamie serves on Main Street Calumet’s board and the Calumet Lions Club. She resides in Allouez with her husband and children.

posted on 1/28/2019 10:13 PM by Jim Northey | permalink | Back to Top

Community Coordinator - Tony Laidlaw

Tony Laidlaw grew up in Grand Rapids Michigan. In high school he decided to go to college for full time ministry and moved to Pennsylvania and attended Baptist Bible college. In college he met his wife and started a family. He also developed a passion for the trades and spent 15 years as a cabinet and fine furniture builder. In 2009 God called Pastor Tony to come to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and work with First Baptist Church of Calumet, as well as Gitche Gumee Bible Camp of Eagle River. Tony and his family fell in love with the Keweenaw Peninsula, and the culture of the people who make this such a fantastic place to live and raise a family. He spent 3 years working with Gitche Gumee before moving to a full time position at First Baptist Church. He is now the lead pastor of First Baptist in Calumet. "As a pastor here in Calumet, I desire to see our community experience God's blessing. I pray for that. I pray that God will pour out His blessing on Calumet and Laurium and it's surrounding communities. Any time that something healthy and good is happening in our community, I'd like our church to be a part of serving it. Shouldn't the church be at the center of community enrichment? Shouldn't the church want to see it's community experience God's blessing? That is why I want to be involved in Copper Dog! I think it is good for our community and it's people. And I want our church to be a part of serving that!" Last year was Pastor Tony's first year serving Copper Dog, and he was in training under the previous Community Coordinator. Connecting with people is something that comes natural to him, and he looks forward to serving in this way as Community Coordinator again this year.

posted on 12/23/2017 11:32 PM by Jim Northey | permalink | Back to Top

Safety - Lyn Nelson

Lyn brings to us 30 years of experience in emergency services and event safety planning. As a long-standing volunteer at the UP200, she has worked a variety of positions in the field and at race communications headquarters. She has continued to transition her knowledge as the National Safety Steward for car rallies (racing in the woods) to dog sled racing. Lyn is a native of the Upper Peninsula, graduate of Northern Michigan University, and currently employed as the State of Michigan Trauma Coordinator for the Upper Peninsula. We are very fortunate to have Lyn in this critical role as our 2019 Safety Director.

posted on 1/5/2018 8:58 PM by Jim Northey | permalink | Back to Top

Krissy Kovachich - Volunteer Director, Musher Liaison, Adopt a Musher

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

Eagle Harbor Coordinator- Kelly Probst (Board Member)

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

Calumet Coordinator - Anne Linja

Anne is in her 5th year volunteering at the CopperDog. She started out helping with fencing, moved on to help with mailings, and then led the "Adopt-A-Musher" program and sponsorship. She is the Calumet Coordinator this year.

Anne has been in the Copper Country since June 2014. She implements manufacturing software and is a full time graduate student at Michigan Tech in the Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors program. In her spare time she volunteers at church and KSNAG. For relaxation she plays the piano and flute.


posted on 1/1/2018 1:34 AM by Jim Northey | permalink | Back to Top

Eagle River Checkpoint - Jan Reese

Jan's bio is on the way

posted on 1/1/2018 1:39 AM by Jim Northey | permalink | Back to Top

Merchandise - Rob Greenhoe (Board Member)

Rob has been a long term volunteer starting with the very first running of the CopperDog150. Rob is a member of the CopperDog Board of Directors and has been responsible for merchandise for several years.. Wearing many hats, Rob also helps ensure that our sponsors are properly represented and publicized. In addition to these many roles, Rob, his wife, and his daughter still find time to work crossings during the race!

posted on 1/1/2018 1:41 AM by Erin Barnett | 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

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 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 (www.copperdog150.com).

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

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

Marketing and IT Support - Jim Northey (Board Member)

Jim and his wife Sonia Goltz and their family have lived in the Copper Country for 21 years. He brings a wealth of IT experience to the organization gained from his career developing financial technology standards and solutions for exchanges, brokerages, and trading firms. Jim also serves as the contact person for Contemplative Outreach in the UP of Michigan and is an adjunct instructor of finance at Michigan Tech.

Jim and Sonia have worked crossings on day three of the race in the recent past and also have helped with taking down the fencing and banners at the race start/finish in downtown Calumet.

Jim is enjoying working with Michigan Tech School of Business students in maintaining and administering the website built by Todd Brassard.

If you have any website issues or questions please send us an email to IT Support


posted on 12/24/2017 12:32 AM by Jim Northey | permalink | Back to Top

About Main Street Calumet

Main Street Calumet

Main Street Calumet was founded in 2003 as a result of community interest in historic preservation spurred by the presence of Keweenaw National Historical Park (est. 1992). Our program is a small part of a much larger group of Main Street Programs across the country. We follow guidelines laid out by the National Main Street program to find ensure our program is a success. Over the past 14 years Main Street Calumet has created multiple events such as Pasty Fest, Copper Dog 150, the Red Jacket Jamboree and hosted a variety of community programs such as small business seminars and the Main Street Calumet Farmer's Market.

The Main Street Calumet Mission

The mission of Main Street Calumet is to guide the revitalization of an exciting and vibrant historic downtown district that is attractive to residents and visitors. In the process the program will forge partnerships, foster development of community leaders, and facilitate the rehabilitation/restoration of its buildings and spaces to be occupied by an economically successful mix of business services and residents.

The Main Street Calumet Vision

The vision of Main Street Calumet is to become the community where people most want to visit and live. Healthy commercial and residential districts will satisfy the needs of a diverse population and interests while continuing to express the local copper mining heritage through preservation, education, and cultural events.

Contact Main Street Calumet

Leah Polzien, Executive Director
info@mainstreetcalumet.com
Telephone: (906) 337-6246

posted on 12/26/2017 11:30 PM by Todd Brassard | permalink | Back to Top

Board of Directors

Doug Harrer, Chair
dougharrer@copperdog150.com

Kim Pici, Vice Chair
kimpici@copperdog150.com

Walt Kiiskila, Treasurer
waltkiiskila@copperdog150.com

Jim Northey, Secretary
jimnorthey@copperdog150.com

Rob Greenhoe, Board Member
robgreenhoe@copperdog150.com

Jon Koskiniemi, Board Member
jonkoskiniemi@copperdog150.com

Kelly Probst, Board Member
kellyprobst@copperdog150.com

Ken Stigers, Board Member
kenstigers@copperdog150.com



Contact Us

CopperDog, Inc.
P.O. Box 384
Calumet, MI 49913
www.copperdog150.com
www.facebook.com/copperdog150
MICS# 48044

Jeff Foss
Race Director
jefffoss@copperdog150.com

John Bryant
Asst. Race Director
johnbryant@copperdog150.com

Jamie Thyrion
Resource Director
jamiethyrion@copperdog150.com

Tony Laidlaw
Community Director
tonylaidlaw@copperdog150.com

Krissy Kovachich
Volunteer Director
Musher Liaison
Adopt a Musher
krissykovachich@copperdog150.com

Website Support
itsupport@copperdog150.com

Copyright (C) 2009 - 2020 Todd Brassard. All rights reserved.