2/1 – 11:03 PM
We are a little over half way through the race and the competition is starting to heat up. Ryan Anderson and Nathan Schroeder are running strong in the front of the pack and Keith Aili and Jason Campeau and Coleen Wallin are staying close behind and might have some tricks up their sleeves. You never know what Keith is going to do and Campeau is running the team of, and is under the mentorship of Jake Berkowitz. Whoever wins this race will have to work hard for it and make all the right calls from here to Duluth. But if Nathan wins, I give all credit to his awesome handlers.
2/2 – 6:21 PM
We got Nathan Schroeders team turned right around in Finland with a quick snack and pulled the booties off. Jason Campeau is 40 minutes behind with an identical leg time. Ryan Anderson is taking his remaining 1.5 hrs in Finland before trailing behind on their way to Hwy 2 where there is a mandatory 4 hour rest before the last leg of the race. Jason Campeau is amped up and seems to be ready to run up many more hills out there to try to gain on Nathan. We were kind of expecting that Nathan would be starting to feel the effects of his rocket runs at the start but it’s not looking like that is going to happen. Beckie Hacker took a bad spill way back on the first day and hurt her shoulder pretty good but she is still keeping a good attitude as always. I haven’t seen her in a couple days but hear she’s still the rookie with the biggest smile on her face.
2/2 – 10:49 PM
Beargrease update: the leaders are resting at the Hwy 2 check point just outside of Two Harbors. Nathan Schroeder can leave at 1:17 am and Jason Campeau can leave leave at 1:45am and 23 seconds. Giving Nathan a 28min 23 sec lead for the 35 mile dash to the finish at Billies. Historically the last run takes 4hr 15min to 4hr 45min. There could be a winner by 5:30am so set those alarm clocks to get to the finish line in time! Or you can watch on line at iFan.tv
2/3 – 3:23 AM
Waiting at Billy’s for the finish. Nathan is about 24 miles out according to the tracker. It showed Jason about 4 miles or so behind.I didn’t watch Jason leave, but,it sounds like his team left looking strong. If Nathan keeps moving forward he should be able to hold him off. Bandit joined Fillmore in the dog truck
His hip is bothering him again. So……Sheriff and Bambi led the team out of Highway 2 checkpoint.
It’s hard to leave with your 2 best in the truck. It is snowing and blowing pretty good outside, with visibility pretty low. We’re keeping our fingers crossed here for a strong finish
2/3 – 6:53 AM
Out of the last 90 hours, only three of them have been lousy because I was asleep. The rest of the time has been spent caring for the team of Nathan Schroeder in the Beargrease and making sure they are well rested and fed and healthy and in good spirits, along with driving and hurrying up to go wait somewhere and meeting new friends and having great conversations with awesome people.
Beargrease 2016 was Awesome!!!
I was part of Nathan Schroeders handling team and had a blast. Our team consisted of Vern Schroeder as team captain, Carmen Erickson as the crew mom, making sure Nathan and the rest of the team was well fed and healthy and keeping me awake as I drove the rig through the sleepless nights. Brett Pugsley was the handler in training and did a phenomenal job doing all of the chores that needed doing and was fast and efficient and Vern and I never had to worry about any of those cuz Brett always had them done. Vern and I were mostly focused on the health and preventative maintenance of the dogs.
The Beargrease race was put on by a great crew of many many people. Jason Rice does an awesome job promoting and organizing it every year, thank you to all of the coordinators and judges and timers and road crossing volunteers and handlers and radio operators and checkpoint volunteers and and and…
Once again the Veterinary team was fantastic although Nathan’s team was in great shape and didn’t need much vet care, thanks to Nathan’s training and conditioning and his handling crew… But mostly his handling crew.
Thank you to the snowmobile trail clubs and snowmobilers that are so considerate of the dog teams while they’re out on the trail.
All of the sponsors of the race and racers are what keeps these races going and please support them any way possible. Duluth Trading Co sponsors both the race, and Nathan specifically. Huge thanks to you guys.
All of the check points were awesome and it is a really great feeling to be there with so many people that love to help and serve. There was food at every checkpoint and the friendly conversations between strangers/new friends were ongoing. Anyone that is thinking about volunteering in the years to come… just get out there and do it. You won’t be sorry.
Special thanks to Sarah at Trail Center checkpoint who went way above and beyond with keeping her place open and staffed through the night as teams were coming and going. Trail Center is a great place to get a bite to eat as you are traveling the Gunflint trail this summer. It will definitely be more than just a bite.
Thank you to my crew back at Chilly Dogs Sled Dog Trips who picked up the slack for me so I could go and help in bringing Nathan’s team to his fourth victory. Anyone that is wondering what it is like to drive a team of sled dogs can check us out online, Facebook or website. Just look us up. We have several of Nathan’s retired race dogs here running trips with us and having a blast. You can call in and request a Schroeder Beargrease/Iditarod dog on your team.
All of these people and many more are what is keeping these races going but it’s really all about the dogs. They absolutely love to do what they do. They are born to pull and love working together as a team. Their reward is the run itself, we as mushers just enable them to do that.
There also would be no race without the fans and spectators. If you haven’t seen a race start before, you are missing out.
Thanks again, one and all.