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      CopperDog 150 preparation

      The CopperDog 150 is a true mark of Copper Country culture.

      Mushers from around the country come to the Keweenaw to participate in the race. This year the race will begin on March 1, which only gives race officials a few more days to prepare.

      Cars may be lined up and down the street on any normal day, but soon it's going to be cleared out and covered in snow. The race officials are hoping to have 6,000-8,000 people show up for the race.

      With that many people crowding the streets and the recent incident at the UP 200, safety is a top priority. The many volunteers who work during the race receive special training to know what to do in case of an accident.

      "We offer hands-on volunteer training,â?? said executive director of the CopperDog 150, Todd Brassard. â??This year we added advanced volunteer training for our coordinators to really get in there and teach them about safety, about the mechanics of the race, how to radio information in."

      Extensive wiring down the streets and live online streaming will allow people to hear the race start even from far away. To immerse spectators into the action even more, this year there will be real-time location mapping of the sleds on the trails.

      "We'll put them on a Google Map so you can see them real-time when they cross checkpoints,â?? explained technical director of the CopperDog 150, Lester Brent. â??Then it'll extrapolate how fast they're moving and be a real-time picture of how fast they're traveling and when they're going to get to the next checkpoint."

      Despite the new technology and the race increasing in popularity, race organizers remain humble and say the race is all about the community.

      "The purpose of the CopperDog 150 is community vitality, community pride, bringing national recognition to our area,â?? Brassard said. â??We want to really be on the map. It helps us with tourism, it helps us with our economy, it helps bring attention to this area."