The show 'mush' go on | News, Sports, Jobs - Marquette Mining Journal

Jan 5, 2022
Musher Joshua McNeal’s lead dogs are pictured bursting with energy moments before starting their race during the UP200 in 2020. After a year off because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the UP200, Midnight Run and Jack Pine 30 sled dog races are on for this year. (Journal file photo)
MARQUETTE — After a year off because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the UP200, Midnight Run and Jack Pine 30 sled dog races are on for this year.
Upper Peninsula Sled Dog Association President Darlene Walch said the prerace bib draw is scheduled for Feb. 17, with the UP200 and Midnight Run races starting on Feb. 18. The Jack Pine 30 is scheduled for Feb. 19, which is when the Midnight Run is expected to finish. The UP200 is set to finish on Feb. 20, with the awards to be handed out the morning of Feb. 21.
Walch said few changes are expected this year, although the Midnight Run will end at the Ojibwa Casino in Chocolay Township instead of in Marquette.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic still is ongoing, Walch said race organizers will follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
“The situation is changing quite rapidly so it’s hard to predict what protocols will be in place in another six weeks,” Walch said in an email. “When inside we will abide by protocols required by the venue host.”
The UP200 first was run in February 1990, according to The 230-mile race consists of 12-dog teams and is an Iditarod qualifying race. The course runs from Marquette to Wetmore and then Wetmore to Grand Marais, and from Grand Marais to Wetmore and onward to the finish line in Marquette.
The tentative UP200 purse this year is $32,525.
The route of the Midnight Run, a 90-mile race that involves eight-dog teams, goes from Marquette to Chatham and back to the Ojibwa Casino. The tentative purse is $12,575.
The Jack Pine 30, a 26-mile race that involves six-dog teams, begins and ends at First Baptist Church, located at 195 N. Billings St. in Gwinn. The tentative purse is $1,310.
Also returning after a year’s hiatus is the Mush Bus, which will leave Marquette for Grand Marais the Saturday of race weekend. Dan Truckey, director of the Beaumier U.P. Heritage Museum at Northern Michigan University, will be the tour guide.
According to the race website, passengers will board a Checker bus at 10:45 a.m. Feb. 19 at the Holiday Inn in Marquette and leave at 11 a.m. Munising passengers will be picked up at the Falling Rock Cafe at about 11:45 a.m., arriving at approximately 1 p.m. in Grand Marais. The bus is scheduled to depart Grand Marais at about 4 p.m., with an estimated arrival time in Marquette of 6:15 to 6:30 p.m.
Tickets are $40 per person. For reservations, call 906-458-9997 or 906-228-3072. Payment can be made in advance at or by check sent to UPSDA, in care of Pat Torreano, 1403 Linden St., Marquette, MI 49855. Payments also may be made in person at the Holiday Inn during race week.
The races also bring in money to the region. A 2020 economic impact assessment survey showed the financial impact of the long weekend encompassing the races to be almost $2 million. The UPSDA developed the survey in collaboration with the NMU Chapter of the American Marketing Association, Travel Marquette and the Lake Superior Community Partnership.
“We are excited to be bringing this event back to the Marquette and Alger County region,” Walch said. “As always we need volunteers to help make things run smoothly.”
For more information, visit
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