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Beargrease Cub Run inspires the next generation of mushers

Beargrease Cub Run inspires the next generation of mushers
Published: Jan. 22, 2022 at 11:49 PM CST
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TWO HARBORS, MN (KBJR) - In dog sledding, there may be one human on the trail, but the race is a team effort.

For 9-year-old Lucy Ramaker, her dogs serve different purposes.

“Norma is nice and sweet and Marshall is a harder worker,” said Lucy, a Cub Run Racer.

Lucy participated in her first Beargrease competition Saturday in Two Harbors.

To enter the race, mushers must be under the age of 14.

The qualities they look for in their dogs may be different than the adults competing in the traditional marathon.

“Norma gives the best kisses,” said Lucy Ramaker.

The Ramaker family has two competitors this year.

Lucy’s older sister Ruby also raced in the Cub for the first time.

“When I get on the runners and ride by myself I feel free,” said Ruby Ramaker.

It’s freedom she’s experiencing with her K9 teammates.

“It’s just really fun having just me and the dogs,” said Ruby Ramaker.

The Ramakers are second-generation mushers.

“We started running dogs more on a recreational level quite a few years ago, then about five years ago, we started doing more competitive racing stuff,” said Damon Ramaker, father of Lucy and Ruby.

For organizers, passing a love of dog sledding on to the next generation is what this Cub Run is all about.

“When this idea about the Cub Run and education came through, I fell in love with it,” said Mike Keyport, Cub Run Announcer.

For Keyport, dog sledding has been in his family for many generations.

“I’m the great-grandson of John Beargrease himself,” said Keyport.

Mushers and dogs can either race a two-mile course, or opt for an even shorter quarter-mile race.

Each participant starts the race individually.

There’s a staggered start with racers leaving every two minutes.

And though the course may be shorter than most Beargrease races, for the parents watching, the finish line is just as exciting.

“There’s a lot of pride,” said Damon Ramaker.

For these young mushers, the race is over but the journey may have just begun.

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