Michigan is known for its cold weather and snowy winters, and thus boasts some of the hardiest residents in the United States. This resilience enables the state’s residents to tackle some of the world’s more extreme hobbies and sports, such as dog sled racing.
Launched in February 1990, the Upper Peninsula 200 Sled Dog Championship (UP200) is a premier 12-dog mid-distance race, and is one of the many qualifying races for the Iditarod. With 230 miles stretching from Marquette to Grand Marais, Mich., mushers traverse through the Hiawatha National Forest and weave through Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore before the course doubles back on itself to return teams to the finish line. This year’s race started on Friday, February 17, and concluded on Sunday, February 19.
Leaders of the Upper Peninsula Sled Dog Association reached out to Timber Products Company about using our Munising, Mich. facility as the upbound checkpoint for this year’s race. Jon Johnson, Regional Plant Manager, agreed and suddenly found himself involved in his first sled dog race, working with Ben Bohnsack, who took over as Wetmore Checkpoint Coordinator to run the event in that location.
Our hardwood veneer mill was an ideal location for a checkpoint due to its proximity to the race course and its ability to remain isolated from the public while providing protection from the elements. The veterinarians parked their triage truck in the dry kiln area, where they examined the dogs, and the dry storage area served as the official time keeping office.
“Right from the start, it was easy to work out. Throughout the setup, everyone was in close communication. That all went very well,” said Bohnsack. “I was astounded that at our first planning meeting he brought in five people from the staff.”
“The entire Timber Products team in the dry-kiln area cleaned it up in preparation for the race. They plowed an area for the dogs to create a windbreaker, put down hay, and set up bunk rooms for the teams,” said Johnson. “I think it was a good experience for everyone.”
The experience was so great that Johnson received a card from the veterinarians thanking Timber Products for allowing them to use the facility. There was excitement and hope from the race and for our group at Timber Products Company for future partnerships.
If you are looking to partner with Timber Products on exciting events like the UP200, get in touch with us today.