EAGLE HARBOR, Mich. (WLUC) – The CopperDog 150 sled dog race wrapped up its final day today.
After covering 122 miles in three days, 12 mushers completed the third leg of the race Sunday in Eagle Harbor. JR Anderson successfully defended his title.
Anderson, who lives in Cook, Minnesota, has attended the event almost every year since it started in 2009. “I think I’ve been here every year but three,” the CopperDog 150 champion said. I missed the first year, 2016 we were racing in Canada, and 2020 we stayed at home.”
Anderson’s brother Ryan won the UP200 in February and placed second in this year’s CopperDog 150. Anderson says he and Ryan started mushing when they were around six years old, adding that his first professional run was 33 years ago in 1989.
Since then, the two have won competitions across the country. “I’ve raced from Maine to Alaska, across Canada, Wyoming, Utah, Montana,” Anderson said, saying he hasn’t raced on the West Coast yet.
His experience showed it this weekend, as he was third to cross the finish line at the end of the third stage, the last stage of the competition. He had the lowest combined time on the three legs, which were Calumet to Eagle Harbor on March 4, Eagle Harbor to Copper Harbor on March 5, and then Copper Harbor to Eagle Harbor today.
“Pretty happy, you know, it was a fun weekend,” Anderson said.
Anderson wins $1,500. But says getting out on the trails with his dogs is the main reason he runs, adding he didn’t even know he would be paid.
“I don’t even know what the award is this year,” Anderson said when asked if he was thrilled to receive his award. “Last year I didn’t know what the prize was, I didn’t know it was going to come in. It’s more like an adventure with your dogs, a challenge.”
Martha Schouweiler won the CopperDog 80 which, alongside the 150, are the final sled dog races held in Upper Michigan in 2022.
Anderson hopes the snow will stay a few more weeks in Cook, Minn., so he can train his dogs during the offseason.
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