Mushers prepare for the Copper Dog races

Mushers prepare for the Copper Dog races

KEWEENAW — Opening ceremonies for the Copperdog 150 begin within the hour. ABC 10’s Rick Allen has a preview of this weekend’s sled dog race.

Twenty teams are making their final preparations for tonight’s start of the CopperDog 150 Sled Dog Race. Another 13 teams will be racing in the shorter CopperDog 80. That’s 278 sled dogs that will be out on the trails this weekend in the Keweenaw.

The only concern is the weather, which could have an impact on both the trails and the dogs.

Race Director Meredith Labeau said, “The trails are good today. There’s a few sections we’re going to keep monitoring and also the dogs really like to run in about zero degrees, so tomorrow, when it’s predicted to be about 38, might be a little warm. So we’ll try to get them off the trail before too late in the afternoon sun.”

The mushers took part in their pre–race meal this afternoon but they are as eager to hit the trails as their dogs.

2015 CopperDog 150 Champion Dennis Laboda from Minnesota said, “I’ve got eight dogs in the team out of ten that have been here before, two new ones. We’re out to have some fun, basically. We’ll see what happens.”

Sponsorship has grown along with the CopperDog, there are now 90 sponsors for the race. And with a 90 percent return rate of mushers from last year…everyone knows what to expect.

Labeau said, “It’s starting to begin and you can feel that energy come up and rise, and so I’m excited to get out of here and start parking, and that’s when you really feel the start of the race is going to happen.”

And it will happen, the first team will leave the chute at 7pm.