CopperDog title all in family: Champion excited to win race, meet newest teammate

Joshua Vissers/Daily Mining Gazette Champion of the 2019 Copperdog150 Martha Schouweiler and her team charge across the finish line on Sunday.

CALUMET — Representing a family team, Martha Schouweiler of Irma, Wisconsin, won the CopperDog150 sled dog race Sunday as racers started crossing the finish line on Fifth Street shortly after noon.

“I’ve had a second place, a third, a fourth; I didn’t think I could win this one,” said Schouweiler. Her team has won the shorter Copper Dog 40 in the past and this is their seventh Copper Dog Race. The Copper Dog is one of three races that Schouweiler and her team ran this year “It’s an extreme lifestyle because of the dedication and time it takes.”

Schouweiler was not alone with her dogs at the race. Her son, Chad, and his wife are part of her team, with Chad being “the mastermind behind the training,” according to Schouweiler. Chad’s wife, however, had to sit out this year’s race, as she recently gave birth to their son.

“We’re done for the year for sure. She just had the baby last week, and I’m anxious to get home to him,” said Chad. “We love the Midwest races. We love the formats. We love not being on the road all the time. We’ll continue to do the same races. We’ve done Flint, we’ve done Beargrease, CopperDog, maybe Midnight Run, but we won’t get too carried away with traveling.”

Next year Schouweiler said she might sit out the race in order to give her daughter-in-law an opportunity to run the race.

Joshua Vissers/Daily Mining Gazette Kevin Vandenbussche, the 11th-place finisher from Moonosee, Ontario, takes his team back to the truck for some well-deserved food and rest

“We have a new member of our team … I’m sure that she is probably going to want to run this team next year, and that’s OK. I knew that going into it.” said Schouweiler. “She’s probably going to be the champ because we have an awesome team.”

Schouweiler has high hopes for future races but also knows it takes more than a good team to win a race. “Dog mushing, all of us know that it’s anybody’s race to win because of these little minor things that can happen and a minor thing can take you out when it’s this competitive.”

Weather cooperated with a warmer start on Friday evening, but then the temperatures started falling while the wind started rising on Saturday and Sunday.

“It was cold but not brutal cold … that makes a difference on what runner plastic you use,” said Schouweiler. “The wind can sometimes affect dogs but it didn’t.”

Race results and times for the other racers who competed in the CopperDog this year can be found on