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Female-led Teams Dominate Beargrease 120

Chelsie Brown
Updated: January 27, 2020 10:51 PM

"Erin Schouweiler admitted her nerves at the start of the Beargrease 120.

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“It’s nerve-wrecking, no pressure," said Schouweiler ahead of the start of the race on Sunday.

They stemmed from the fact that she would race for Otter Run Kennel this year instead of her mother-in-law Martha Schouweiler who is a four-time Beargrease mid-distance champion. However, around 5:40 A.M. Monday morning, those nerves went away. That's because because Erin that came across the finish line first to win the 2020 Beargrease 120.

“It feels good," she said following the race. "It’s kind of a big sigh of relief because I was really nervous because it’s big shoes to fill and Martha’s amazing.”

Just over 45 minutes later a very excited Rita Wehseler of Tofte, Minn. finished in second. A matter of three minutes separated the second through fourth place finishers with Steph Love from Duluth coming in third and Joanna Oberg of Grand Marais coming in fourth.

“This is my third dog sled race I’ve ever even done, so to place third place; I worked really hard. I’ve run dogs for a long time and these are fast dogs and so they deserve it," said Love following the race.

“The Beargrease 120 in-particular, it’s the biggest most competitive race in the country. So to see so many awesome teams come out here and to see how you measure up that’s pretty cool and it’s right in our backyard," added Frank Moe.

Love ran a group of dogs from Moetown Kennel based in Hovland. The kennel is run by Sherri and Frank Moe who finished the Beargrease 120 in fifth place, putting both of their two teams of dogs among the top five out of about 25 mid distance teams.

Something unique about this year’s Beargrease 120 is that all top four spots were won by females.

“The Beargrease has always had a huge showing of women mushers, but it’s always fun when we can come out on top a few times," said Schouweiler.

"For me, I’ve been doing programming throughPositive Energy Outdoors for the last 16 years now. One of the reasons we found our nonprofit was to get more people outside who don’t necessarily get outside, so to see more women mushers-it’s fabulous," said Love.

"Women in this mid-distance mushing are doing so much better than men. It’s almost not fair. You know they split track and basketball. If guys are never going to win this thing again we might just have to have our own league. We can’t compete with these women, they’re just too good," added Moe.

With the full marathoners expected to finish Tuesday evening, the women have a chance to sweep all three races in 2020.

Credits

Chelsie Brown

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

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