And the Winner of the 2009 U.P. 200 Is …

Wisconsin musher Eric Morris, owner of Redpaw dogfood, blew over the finish line of the 20th annual U.P. 200 at 2:14 on Sunday, February, 22. The 26 mushers and their 12-dog teams who competed in this qualifier for Alaska’s famous Iditarod, left Marquette at 7:10 p.m. Friday, February 20. Along the circular route that crosses U.P. forests, rivers, lakes and farmlands, the mushers and their dogs fought high winds, hip-deep fresh snow and frigid temperatures.

Morris finished the last five miles of the race in whiteout conditions. Behind him were mushers Ryan Anderson of Minnesota and Tim Calhoun of Wisconsin.

The U.P. 200 draws 15,000 visitors to Marquette each winter. Race festivities in Marquette span the weekend including the shorter (91 miles) Midnight Run Race and Jack Pine 30 (30 miles). There are also family events like snow sculptures and kiddie dog sled rides. But the evening start of the U.P. 200 under glowing lights in Marquette’s Victorian downtown is the jewel of the weekend.

Read a Traverse story about Upper Peninsula musher Tasha Stielstra.