Your Race Leadership

Race Operations

Race Director - Kelly Probst

This is Kelly’s first year as race director after serving two years as assistant race director.

Assistant Race Director - Doug Harrer

Our board chair agreed to serve as assistant race director, a position he filled in previous years. He has big shoes to fill as his daughter Maddie was our youngest assistant race director a few years ago!

Doug standing to the left of Walt Kiiskila

Assistant Race Director - Kiko de Melo e Silva

Kiko also agreed to serve as an assistant race director this year in addition to his chief timer role. Kiko has been a de factor assistant race director for the past few years. We are just now getting around to recognizing the service he provides to the race.

Trail Boss - Tony Shepeard

The trail crew outfitted with snowmobiles from our local businesses play a vital and critical role in the operation and safety of the race.  Tony has served on the trail crew and as Trail Boss for many seasons. He also runs the trail before the race and after calculating distances, ensuring there are no obstructions and also placing signage vital for both our mushers and for the snowmobile community which graciously shares their trails with us each year.

Chief Timer - Kiko de Melo e Silva

Our timer crew has the challenging job of tracking the times of all race participants. The job is demanding and requires accuracy. We have had races in the past decided by less than two seconds!

Bill Label - Command Center and Communications

Bill moved to the small U.P. town of Allouez from Southeast Michigan in 1992. He is the owner / mechanic of Quincy Hill Auto Repair. He has been a amateur radio operator (Ham) since 2008.

On most Sundays in the summer time he can be found at the Houghton County Historical Society running their 1915 Steam Locomotive.  He is also the Vice President/Treasurer of the Keweenaw County Repeater Association, Inc..

He has been with the CopperDog since its first year, where he worked radio at a road crossing and then the finish. The second year he assisted at net control and then ran it for the 2012 and 2013 races. Net control is the communications center and also where social media updates take place during the race.

For the 2014 race, his responsibilities will include running net control, recruiting and assigning radio volunteers. Radio operators consist of amateur radio operators (Hams) and local firemen.  A radio operator’s responsibilities are to report crossing times and most important to relay all safety communications.

Community Coordination

Calumet Coordinator - Laura Schimmel

Laura is a graduate student at Michigan Tech. She is returning for her second year as Calumet Coordinator. She worked closely with Kim Green last year doing an excellent job in one of our more challenging jobs. She also found time to help as a dog handler in Copper Harbor and Eagle Harbor!

Calumet Coordinator - Kim Green

Kim has volunteered and supported the race for many years in several different capacities. Last year she served as Calumet Coordinator alongside Laura Schimmel. The dynamic duo is back again for a repeat performance.

Copper Harbor Coordinator - Meg North

Meg and her husband Jim are long time residents of the Keweenaw- we are really fortunate to have her serving as one of our Copper Harbor Coordinators for the first time.

Copper Harbor Coordinator - Anthony Carter

Anthony is join Meg as Copper Harbor Coordinator. This is Anthony’s first time as one of our coordinators, but certainly not his first CopperDog.

Kerry LaPointe - Eagle Harbor Coordinator

Kerry has been volunteering for CopperDog since 2018 after being convinced by friends to check out the event. This year she takes over the role of Eagle Harbor Checkpoint Coordinator from Kelly Probst.

Kerry spent her childhood living in Eagle Harbor. The family moved away but kept their home which allowed them to come back every summer. Kerry returned to the area to attend Michigan Tech. After graduation she spent 20 years working in the automotive industry, during which time she earned a master’s degree in Quality and Industrial Technology at Eastern Michigan. Kerry moved on to the commercial construction industry taking a position in quality assurance and customer satisfaction at Marshall Holding Company, where she still serves on the Board of Directors.

Although life took her back to the Detroit area, she continues to spend as much time as possible in the Keweenaw and plans to return full time in the near future.


Kelly Probst

Doug Harrer

Jon Koskiniemi

Kerry LaPointe (Eagle Harbor)

Jeff Idhe (Copper Harbor)

Brian Stein (Copper Harbor)

One of the most challenging tasks is planning and then coordinating the parking of the fiifty or so mushing teams that participate in the CopperDog each year. Considerable planning and expertise goes into assuring the orderly and safe movement and parking for our mushers and fans.

Resources and Infrastructure Services

Resource Coordinator - Ruth Tillbury

Ruth is one of those behind the scenes people that makes the race possible. We have finally convinced her to step forward a bit and accept a title for the job she has been doing for quite awhile.

Volunteer Director - Krissy Tepsa

See Krissy’s bio over on the Board of Directors page. It does take a village – hundreds of volunteers are necessary to hold a safe and successful CopperDog. Krissy for the past several years as volunteer director is the person who works to ensure the race is properly staffed with volunteers.

Vendor Coordinator - Krissy Tepsa

Krissy also coordinates the vendors that provide food and refreshments for race fans during the race.

EMCEE - Todd VanDyke "Voice of the CopperDog"

Todd VanDyke has been the voice of the CopperDog since the beginning of the race. Despite his busy schedule Todd takes the time to prepare the opening of the race. Todd also provides not only the coverage of the starts and finishes of each race stage, he provides the audio equipment for Saturday and Sunday as well! Todd is a key part of what sets the CopperDog apart from other races making the CopperDog one of the premier events in mushing!
Many people know Todd from his work on K-Bear 102.3FM as well as his play by play broadcasting of local sports. Todd is definitely one of the people that makes the CopperDog successful and unique. You can find out more about Todd on the K-Bear website.


Todd on the left next to one of our lead AVI engineers Matt Heyse

Trail Permits - Kelly Probst

See Kelly’s full biography above. Kelly wears many hats. One of the most important that takes much of the calendar year is trail permits.  This year Kelly innovated this difficult task of seeing written permissions and legal agreements for the entire race route using OnX software.

Amber Voght - Graphics Design

Amber is a graduate of Michigan Tech and is employed as a graphics designer.  Amber previously was the head of marketing for The LaSalle Technology Group, LLC, which was acquired by Itiviti in 2015. Amber grew up in Houghton, Michigan and is an avid outdoor person and adventurer. She created the new logo based upon the original logo designed by Jess Brassard. She and her family regularly volunteer for the CopperDog 150.

Audio Engineering Society (AES) Chapter at MTU

The Audio Engineering Society (AES) Chapter at MTU is a student-led organization established by those with a love for the field of Audio Engineering. AES builds speakers, designs and assembles sound systems, and helps facilitate live events within MTU and the broader Houghton area. Every year AES helps supply the music for Michigan Tech’s Winter Carnival All-Nighter, where the wider community comes together to see student groups compete in snow statue competitions. This year AES hopes to serve the community once more by volunteering and assisting with the A/V system for CopperDog 150!

Matt Heyse - Lead Video Live Stream and Network Engineer

Matt is starting his sixth year support the CopperDog. He leads the setup of the audio system on 5th street, is responsible for our live streams, and also serves as our primary network engineer. Matt is employed at Shorewaves and is a student at Michigan Tech.

Denny McKaig- Lead Audio Engineer and Producer

Denny was recruited to the CopperDog by Jeff Foss. Denny retired from MTU working on both audio and sound engineering and information technology. He is well known for his recording studio having recorded multiple local and regional performers. You will see Denny as we setup and then in the announcer’s booth with Todd VanDyke the voice of the CopperDog. We are very fortunate to have Denny’s expertise.

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