The Midnight Run

2023 Midnight Run Mushers

1. Lynne Witte, Cheboygan, Michigan

Kennel Name: Iskristall
Sponsors: dogbooties.com
Major Breed or Bloodline: Alaskan Husky
Lead Dog(s): Cache, Tinder, Prentiss
Number of Years Racing: 12
How or why did you get involved in Sled Dog Racing? Opportunity to go as teacher and volunteer for 2000 Iditarod and followed race to Nome as a volunteer and sharing education resources. I bought a couple sled dogs, started skijoring and then transitioned to a sled.
Where have you raced? Michigan, Minnesota, Yukon
Have a training or race experience to share? Memory of racing the 2015 MNR with a yearling team in the snowstorm headed back to finish in Marquette.


2. Steven Peterson, Granby, Colorado

Kennel Name: Snow Mountain Ranch Dog Sledding
Sponsors: YMCA of the Rockies
Major Breed or Bloodline: Alaskan Husky
Lead Dog(s): Raven, Ruthie, Kindle
Number of Years Racing: 22
How or why did you get involved in Sled Dog Racing? Love for Dogs and a love for the outdoors
Where have you raced? John Beargrease mid distance, Race For The Gold, White Oak Classic, Gunflint Mail Run, Wolftrack Classic, Mid-Minnesota
Have a training or race experience to share? Five years ago I lost my oldest daughter to cancer. I struggled so in my grief. Last time I ran the Midnight Run she appeared to me about two miles from the finish and assured me that she was alright and that her death was not my fault. Clearly one of the most powerful experiences of my life.


3.  Bucky Tippett, Grand View, Wisconsin

Kennel Name: Happy Howling Huskies
Sponsors: Mary Radtke – MOM
Major Breed or Bloodline: Alaskan Huskies
Lead Dog(s): Pete and Xander
Number of Years Racing: 4
How or why did you get involved in Sled Dog Racing? In 2019 I wanted to get some sled dogs to just ride around with the family on our property.  That turned into racing.
Where have you raced? Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin
Have a training or race experience to share? Last year at the MNR, I stopped to get something out of my bag.  I didn’t set a snow hook, so yeah, smart thinking. My team looked back at me and as I took my other hand off of the handle bar, they decided to take off.  My feet came out from under me and bam, flat on my back.  Luckily, Frank Holmberg was close in front of me to stop my team.  Could have been a long walk.


4.  Rita Wehseler, Tofte, Minnesota

Kennel Name: Stoney Creek Kennel
Sponsors: Langs Feeds, Lupine, Claire Seekins
Major Breed or Bloodline: Alaskan Huskies
Lead Dog(s): Mieter, Boo, Thread, Mimi
Number of Years Racing: 25
How or why did you get involved in Sled Dog Racing? A friend introduced me to the sport.
Where have you raced? Minnesota, Michigan, Maine and Alaska.
Have a training or race experience to share? No


5.  Joann Fortier, Gaylord, Michigan

Kennel Name: Coyote Run Sled Dog Kennel
Sponsors: Northwood Land Company & UpNorth Land Company
Major Breed or Bloodline: Alaskan Huskies
Lead Dog(s): Swift, Finn & Solo
Number of Years Racing: 23
How or why did you get involved in Sled Dog Racing? I’ve always wanted to have sled dogs since I was a little kid.
Where have you raced? I have raced many Midnight Runs, Beargrease 120, Apostle Islands, Tahquamenon, Copper Dog 150 & many other races over the past 20+ years.
Have a training or race experience to share? One of my most memorable races was the Midnight Run during the 2015 blizzard. I will never forget the 70+ mph winds blowing my entire team & I completely off the trail multiple times near Lake Superior.


6.  Larry Fortier, Gaylord, Michigan

Kennel Name: Coyote Run Sled Dog Kennel
Sponsors: Northwood Land Company & UpNorth Land Company
Major Breed or Bloodline: Alaskan Huskies
Lead Dog(s): Rue, Pico, Moose & Possum
Number of Years Racing: 20
How or why did you get involved in Sled Dog Racing? When Joann was pregnant with our daughter, I had to train & race the team that year & became addicted to the sport.
Where have you raced? Midnight Run, Copper Dog 150, Tahquamenon, Beargrease 120, Apostle Islands & many others over the past 20 years.
Have a training or race experience to share? A great memory of this race is every time we beat Joann’s A team with my B team of young dogs.


7.  Joanna Oberg, Grand Marias, Minnesota

Kennel Name: Run Silent Racing
Sponsors: Agimac River Outfitters, Grand Marais Marathon Gas Station
Major Breed or Bloodline: Alaskan Husky
Lead Dog(s): Tamar, Nikita, Laska, Saga
Number of Years Racing: 22
How or why did you get involved in Sled Dog Racing? I love dogs, excitement, adventure and the outdoors so it was a good fit 🙂
Where have you raced? MN, MI, WI, Ontario
Have a training or race experience to share? My leader Tamar, now 8, got excited as a 2 yr. old when I was sick and coughing at a race and she would start screaming. Then my whole team would take off like a rocket, so it became a speed up cue:) Now anytime all I have to do is cough and she will start screaming and off we go:) She also gets mad and screams if we go too slowly up Beargrease hills causing the team, again, to shoot off like a rocket which is pretty nice:) Or when catching a team, or when leaving a team behind… she gets excited about that all on her own without my coughing 😉 Her granddaughter Laska is the same way. Its been pretty fun though my throat can get sore from the fake coughing lol:)


8.  Suzie (Suz) Harris, Houghton, Michigan

Kennel Name: Mushing Club at Michigan Tech
Sponsors: Otter River Sled Dog
Major Breed or Bloodline: Alaskan Huskies
Lead Dog(s): TBD
Number of Years Racing: 3
How or why did you get involved in Sled Dog Racing? I’ve always loved animals and sports, so when I heard about the Mushing Club at Michigan Tech I knew I had to join. I’ve been drawn in ever since my first visit to our host kennel, meeting the dogs and helping Sally with chores. My first time on a sled increased this passion, and I’ve been involved with sled dogs however I can since.
Where have you raced? 2023 Tahquamenon Country Sled Dog Race – 10 Dog (maybe/planned), 2022 Tahquamenon Country Sled Dog Race – 10 Dog, 2021 CopperDog 150 – CD15
Have a training or race experience to share? One of my favorite experiences mushing was while helping with a kennel tour. A family came out with their son who was younger and loves animals. He wasn’t very verbal, but you could tell he was having a blast petting all the dogs and riding in the sled basket while his parents were on the runners. Eventually he told them he wanted to get on the runners, but they were nervous of his ability to do so and worn out. I offered to ride in the basket with him and insisted he’d do great. Suddenly he was asking lots of questions and having a blast! After we finished, he ran up to his parents bragging how he only tipped the sled once and they tipped it many times. Before they left, his mom told me he was on the spectrum and she was overjoyed he had such a great experience. It warmed my heart being a part of that and I love every time I am able to share this experience with others.


9.  Alyssa Sarlund, Houghton, Michigan

Kennel Name: Mushing Club at Michigan Tech
Sponsors: Otter River Sled Dog
Major Breed or Bloodline: Alaskan Huskies
Lead Dog(s): TBD
Number of Years Racing: 1
How or why did you get involved in Sled Dog Racing? I got involved with mushing because Tech offered it as a club and I fell in love with winter and animals so why not join a sport that involves both.
Where have you raced? 2022 CopperDog 25
Have a training or race experience to share? My favorite memory is during a training run at the kennel my team and I were running and the sunset lit the entire sky a bright pink. It was a very pretty and quiet night, all I could hear were the dogs footsteps through the snow as I watched this amazing view of winter.


10.  Frank R. Caldwell Jr., Newberry, Michigan

Kennel Name: TC Kennels
Sponsors: None but won’t turn any down either.
Major Breed or Bloodline: Alaskan Huskies
Lead Dog(s): Larry, Payphone and Frodo
Number of Years Racing: 27
How or why did you get involved in Sled Dog Racing? We discovered dryland sprint racing in the Pine Barrens of NJ by following these weird looking trucks into the forest one day. The rest is history.
Where have you raced? NJ, PA, OH, NY, ME, MI, Ontario, WI
Have a training or race experience to share? They are all great memories but we will never forget getting 4th place in the Copper Dog 80 last year and the 3rd fastest team on Sunday with our relatively slow dogs!


11.  Brian Bergen, Sioux Lookout, ON

Kennel Name: Gone to the dogs
Sponsors: Home Hardware Sioux Lookout
Major Breed or Bloodline: Alaskan Huskies
Lead Dog(s): Don’t know yet
Number of Years Racing: 10
How or why did you get involved in Sled Dog Racing? A friend introduced me to sled Dogs
Where have you raced? Bear grease 120, Wolf track classic, Gun Flint mail run, Midnight run
Have a training or race experience to share? No not really


12.  Lara Renner, Alton, New Hampshire

Kennel Name: Team Snowspeeder
Sponsors: None
Major Breed or Bloodline: Siberian Husky
Lead Dog(s): Kylo and Hera
Number of Years Racing: 10
How or why did you get involved in Sled Dog Racing? When I was 5 years old I found a stuffed animal husky in the basement when cleaning out boxes. For the next several years every project that I did in school was somehow related to sled dogs. When I was 8, my family and I attended a local sprint race called the Laconia Sled Dog Race, and found out about the New Hampshire Mushers Association mentor program. They put me in touch with Peter Franke, a local Siberian musher, and for the next two years, I went to his kennel a few times a week to help with chores, and learn about the sport of dog mushing. When I was 10 years old in 2012, my family surprised me with my first dog, Storm, and my kennel has only grown from there.
Where have you raced? My favorite race to date is the Can-Am Crown in Fort Kent Maine. I have done the 30 mile class 3 times (2015, 16, 19) and the 100 mile class twice (2017, 2020, and will be going back again this season). The longest race that I have done to date is the Junior Iditarod in Alaska, which is 150 miles. I have had the privilege to race across New England, Canada, and Alaska over the past 10 years. This will be my first race in the mid-west!
Have a training or race experience to share? Several years ago, I think it was 2016, I was racing in the North Country Musher’s Stage Race here in Northern New Hampshire. Three days in three different locations, 15-20 miles each day. It is an excellent event, but as many mushers can relate, for some reason every time I have run this race something unexpected has happened. In this particular year, the first day I managed to get lost and did 10 mile more than the rest of my competitors, the second went smoothly, but the third day is where the real adventure happened. My team of 6 young dogs and I were coming up on a road crossing, when they abruptly turned right onto an icy road. My brake was not getting any traction, and I tried and failed to hook into the bank. Then the reason the dogs made this detour became apparent as they pulled me up and over a paddock fence and into a horse pasture! The snowbank on the outside of the fence was banked enough that the dogs, the sled, and I could get over, but on the other side it was a steep drop where the snow has been packed down by the horse, so essentially there I was, with stuck my 6 dogs, and a very confused and surprised looking horse. Now, I had never been in this situation before and frankly, had no clue what to do. I managed to get the sled hooked down, and then called out for help. Thankfully there was a manned road crossing not too much farther down the trail and the wonderful volunteers heard my shouts, and came running. Together we were able to get the dogs out and lined up to continue back on to the trail. I am so very thankful to the people who helped me, and that the dogs, the horse, and myself were not injured in the process. I have been in many strange and exciting situations throughout the 10 years of running dogs, but I do have to say that this one tops it all.


13.  Alex LaPlante, Duluth, Minnesota

Kennel Name: Dark Sky Kennel
Sponsors: Our Family!
Major Breed or Bloodline: Alaskan Huskies
Lead Dog(s): Charlie, Goose, Iceman, Cobalt
Number of Years Racing: 12
How or why did you get involved in Sled Dog Racing? My husband was addicted first.
Where have you raced? All over the Midwest – Beargrease, CopperDog, Wolf Track, Mid Minnesota
Have a training or race experience to share?  The last time I did the MNR I was dragged quite a way just outside of Marquette after the start.  My headlamp came apart so I was in the dark.  I was sure my dogs would run out into the road instead of stay on the trail.  Fortunately they stayed on the trail and I was able to reassemble my head lamp.  Going to try again and hope for more snow so the trail is more obvious this year.


14.  Mike Bestgen, St. Cloud, Minnesota

Kennel Name: Fugarwe Kennels
Sponsors: Lang’s Meat, Espana Silk Grooming Products
Major Breed or Bloodline: Alaskans
Lead Dog(s): Bourbon, Bush, Sage, Salt
Number of Years Racing: 25
How or why did you get involved in Sled Dog Racing? Love of the dogs
Where have you raced? MN, WI, ND, WY, Canada and the great UP
Have a training or race experience to share?  No


WITHDRAWN:

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