Several Thousand Spectators Send Off Musher's As Beargrease Begins

Emily Ness
Updated: January 26, 2020 10:56 PM

As the announcer counted down the start of each musher and their team at Beargrease Marathon’s 36th annual race, the count of spectators continued to go up.


“Traffic, wow—lot of people,” George Pogachnik, spectator said. “Wanted to always check this out. Down here to check it out, see what’s going on and looking like a lot of fun for the kids.”

There to capture cinematic moments with their own eyes were several thousand people. An spokesperson for the event said that three to four times more spectators attended this year's send-off.

“I’ve never been to a dog sled race in real life before. I’ve only seen them in like movies or on TV so it’s pretty interesting,” Gretchen Berglund-Lugwig, spectator said.

Interesting it was for those who had learned about sled dogs in school.

“I’ve actually read a book about the bravest dog ever. His name was Balto,” Abigail Pogachnik, spectator said.

And inspiring it was for those who had dedicated their life to it.

“I was an art director for 17 years and I left it to get into sled dogs professionally and I just really enjoy it. I love every minute of it,” Chuck Gould, musher said.

At the event, there was plenty to see.

“If I had a hidden camera on me, I’d get some great face reactions, you know, I’m kind of like Santa Claus. Kids are either scared of you or they’re ‘Oh Mr. Furman so yeah, lot of smiles,” Mark Braatan, The Alaska Bushman said.

And plenty to do.

“Yeah, they got great brats, hot dogs, burgers, beers inside, can’t beat it,” David Swanson, spectator said.

Bringing spectators some of the biggest smiles were the dogs themselves.

“They’re cute,” Jesse Neubauer, spectator said. “They’ve got booties on.”

But no matter what brought them to the races, or what caused their heart to race while there, countless memories will live on long after the countdown.

“It’s nice to know that all of these people come together—especially for something as cold as a dog sled race and it’s also nice to just see people having fun—kids playing in snow banks and the dogs are amazing,” Berglund-Lugwig said.


Emily Ness

Copyright 2020 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved


Reminders about early voting and absentee ballot deadlines

Trump delivers 'Make America Great Again' message in Green Bay and Rochester

Biden delivers healthcare message in St. Paul and Milwaukee

Respiratory Care Week: Respiratory therapists' role during COVID-19 and beyond

Mesabi Preschool kids wear costumes to collect items for food shelf

Duluth schools to continue learning models through December