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CopperDog Through the Eyes of a Young Volunteer

Okay I really don't know what to say so... I will start with this. My name is Maddie Longpre-Harrer I'm 12 years old and I'm from Calumet Michigan I'm a 7th grade student. I go to CLK ( Washington Middle School). One of the best parts of going to school here is students, teachers, and other people come up to me and ask me about the CopperDog. It's even cooler when I can answer the questions they have. When it gets close to race weekend people come up to me and say "Are you involved this year?" and my favorite answer for them is "yes." They ask questions about the mushers and most of the time I can answer them. I get to tell them I got to meet one of the Redingtons. People don't know who they are and then I have to explain it and then they want to know more about them and meet them. I get to talk to the mushers get to know them and have a fun time with them. I talk about mushers that are coming from great distances and mushers that live right here in calumet! I love when I can get together with the mushers and get to see them and talk to them and all my friends are like " We don't know who that is so will you stop going on about them!" I respond back to them "no" because it's such an exciting, amazing, fun filled weekend with everyone who is involved.

My dad is Doug Harrer and he is one of the board members. He has been involved since the beginning. I have been involved with the CopperDog 150 for every year I think. I have handed out the bibs every year. This year I get the honor of shadowing my dad and also handing out bibs at the bib draw. Also this year I asked if I can be with my dad 24/7 right by his side learning the ropes of what I want to be my future to be like. I get to see all that happens behind the scenes. So basically this year I'm a Junior Official. Most of my friends are 13 so they can handle the dogs this year I'm over here like I have been handling the dogs. Last year I got just a little of what it's like behind the scenes. It was on Sunday. I got to ride with my dad, Lyle Ross, and one of the HAM radio operators form Michigan Tech. That was one of the best experiences of my life. This year my dad bought new radios and headphones, one for himself and he got one for me. No words could explain how excited I am about this year! I am so stoked to get to be with my dad learning the ropes of what I want to be my future to be like.

There's something about the community coming together all the volunteers, vets, officials, board members, and many more people I'm forgetting that make me love this race that started small and turned out bigger than I could ever imagine. I have the honor to say I know such respected people like the CopperDog board all the mushers and officials. Especially my dad. Brad King, Walt Kiiskila, Renee Cunningham, Meredith LaBeau, Todd Brassard, my dad Doug Harrer, Brett Matuszak, Dave Olsson, Ken Stigers, and everyone else are amazing individuals that come together using their strengths to make this race happen. They take time out of their busy schedules to do this for everyone. They are the people who inspire me to go a little out of my comfort zone, I can trust them, I can tell/talk to them when I have a bad day because they are like family. As I sit in study hall writing this I think back to all the memories I have with them because as I love to say the CopperDog150 is my dysfunctional family.

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