ANTIGO, Wis. (WLUC) - The 30th anniversary of the UP200 sled dog race is approaching fast.
The Beaber family, from Antigo, Wisconsin, is getting ready for the Midnight Run, a yearly tradition they take part in. (WLUC Photo)
The Beaber family, from Antigo, Wisconsin, is getting ready for the Midnight Run, a yearly tradition they take part in. This tradition has been passed down through generations.
"It's an amazing thing to do with your daughters, when you're a dad, and to teach them to be out in the wilderness with them, especially the racing part,” said Ryan Beaber, a veteran Midnight Run musher.
Ryan has participated in the Midnight Run for many years. Four years ago, his 14-year-old daughter, Kelsey Beaber, took part in this 100-mile expedition. This year another family member is stepping on the sled.
"I am excited because this will be my first race with my sister,” said 12-year-old Kiana Beaber.
The two share a bond.
"I'm hoping that they put us right next to each other so I can run with her and I can guide her,” said Kelsey.
The girls say that as soon as they step on the sled, they become free in the wilderness.
"You can hear the dogs' breaths and you can feel their feet and how they move and their strides. It's beautiful,” said Kelsey.
Preparation for this race began in the summer months, narrowing their 34 dogs down to 24, eight for each musher.
"From free running the dogs, just down the gravel roads, and then as soon as it's cool enough, hooking them right onto the lines,” said Ryan.
The dogs are on a strict schedule, only allowed so much time attached to the sleds, and to run free, but the family makes sure they are always bonding with their teammates.
"You pet them, and you love them as much as you can,” said Kiana.
Ryan says mushing sometimes isn't accessible to many, but knows this competition helps.
"So there's not a lot of mushers out there, but I think that the Midnight Run, really does an amazing job of bringing the ones that are out there in, and I feel that it's going to get busier and busier and there's going to be more entries over the years,” he said.
They have loaded up all the necessities, dog food, the sleds, mandatory gear, and through it spend time together.
"That's a father-daughter team, and that's pretty cool. So that's what I'm hoping that it keeps my kids close, that we get to do lots of stuff together through life,” said Ryan.