As the final musher pulls through the finish line, the fifth year of the CopperDog 150 comes to a close.
Twenty-five teams from around the country and Canada left Calumet Friday night on a 135-mile race to the tip of the Keweenaw and back.
This yearâ??s winner, who placed third in the race last year, is Jake Golton from Ontario in his second CopperDog.
â??We had a good run here last year, and we wanted to improve on it,â?? said Golton. â??It seemed the competition was a lot stiffer this year.â??
Rounding out the top three were Josh Compton from Minnesota in second and Aaron Peck from Alberta in third.
Last yearâ??s champion and five-time CopperDog veteran from Cheboygan, Michigan, Bruce Magnusson, finished fourth this year, but if heâ??s disappointed, heâ??s not showing it.
â??Jakeâ??s personally a good friend, and I was like, â??Iâ??m rooting you on Jake! Go! Go, buddy!â??â?? said Magnusson. â??Heâ??s a great kid and a great sport and always fun to race with. My hatâ??s off to him. He had a better dog team than me today.â??
Teams battled frigid temperatures overnight on the leg to Eagle Harbor with wind chills dipping to 20 below, and it also happens to be the longest leg, just shy of 50 miles.
Golton said that first leg was the most challenging for his team.
â??We lost, like, over ten minutes, so that was hard to climb back after that,â?? he said. â??We had one injury on the team, but other than that, we had a pretty clean run.â??
A $24,000 purse will be split between the top ten finishers, but itâ??s not the money or accolades that keep the mushers coming back.
â??We just love the race. Lots of volunteers, everything is just perfect,â?? Golton said. â??Thereâ??s no problems with the trail, no problems with the event at all.â??
â??We continue to come because the organization, the people, the competition, everything is just so phenomenal and so warming that you give us a venue to run the best dogs in the world with the best people in the world, and itâ??s a piece of cake,â?? Magnusson said.
And some are already planning for next year. It is, after all, only 363 days away.
â??Itâ??s on my schedule already for next year,â?? Magnusson said. â??Iâ??ve booked all my rooms already!â??
For a full list of finishing times, check out the CopperDog 150 website here .