UP200 brings tourism, volunteer opportunities


CHAMPION — Ryan Anderson from St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin coasts into the finish line of this years UP200. Anderson has won the race nine total times and claims the $7,800 prize.

Justin Van't Hof, Editor-in-Chief

The UP200 board has announced that NMU will become a Gold Sled Sponsor for the 2023 UP200, the first time the event has had a Gold Sled Sponsor in its 25-year history. The Gold Sled Sponsor is a partnership with NMU to help financially support the event and publicity. The official name for next year’s races is now “UP200 – Powered by NMU.”

Vice President for the board Mari Vaydik says the partnership will help cement volunteer opportunities for students and assist with the needed revenue to ensure those experiences and the event itself are funded.

This year there were over 30 NMU organizations, clubs and residence halls who volunteered for the race. Vaydik said the UP200 tries to match student volunteers to their line of study.

“There are so many organized student groups like the pre-veterinary club and the construction club that have been involved for many years and we have them involved in places that help support the race. The pre-veterinary club will work on the Friday morning check-ins and the constructors help with the setup downtown,” Vaydik said.

The race offered students a chance to volunteer and help make sure this year’s race ran smoothly. Freshman Fisheries and Wildlife major Taylor Kenyon volunteered as a trail guide stationed on Old County Road 510 with members of the student group Conservation Crew.

“If you love cold winters then you will definitely enjoy this event. I would recommend bringing a flashlight and lots of layers as well as hand warmers and toe warmers. Don’t be afraid to start volunteering and meet more people in the surrounding community. I promise you it is worth the long hours and frozen toes at the end of the night,” Kenyon said.

Kenyon wasn’t alone. As snow softly coated Washington Street Friday night, hundreds of spectators packed together against wooden railings to catch a glimpse of the UP200 sled dog race. Mushers journeyed their way to a checkpoint in Grand Marais, Alger County where they rested for 16 hours and then turned around to complete the race in Marquette’s lower harbor Sunday afternoon.

The UP200 board decided to add an additional finishing line at the Ojibwa Casino for mushers facing poor weather conditions. Out of the 12 teams who entered the race, five dropped out due to the weather conditions which were too cold and snowy causing low visibility on the track.

The 200-mile trek took over 24-hours to complete. The winner of the race was Ryan Anderson from St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin claiming the $7,800 prize. Anderson has won the race nine times. The race was not held last year due to COVID-19, something Vaydik said made this year all that more special.