Fans Flock to 2017 Beargrease Finish Line

Ryan Anderson Wins First Place in 2017 John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon

DULUTH, Minn – Shortly after 10:00 a.m., the winning team of the 2017 John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon mushed through the finish line.

Ryan Anderson from Ray, Minnesota, used the annual race to help qualify and train his team to run the upcoming 1,000 mile Iditarod race.

“Racing is an art; it’s not just taking a dog team and going fast,” said Dan Bergerson, Race Marshall for the marathon.

For the past three days, tough teams pushed their way through the frigid north woods.

“I was just thinking last night, all this work all year and now all of a sudden we’re winding down,” said Bergerson.

Helping out for the last 20 years, Bergerson knows a thing or two about taking to the trails.

“I have four other judges that work with me, all experienced judges,” said Bergerson.

His job holds a lot of responsibility, making sure mushers follow rules while traveling on safe trail conditions. He also helps coach teams along the way.

“It’s a lot of fun, it’s a lot of work getting up to it. Since I don’t have dogs anymore, it’s kind of my dog fix,” he said.

Furry friends, bringing back many memories for these faithful fans.

“It’s a neat way to really explore the Northland and meet some really great people,” said race follower and volunteer Meghan Morrow.

“I have my day off; I wanted to come down here, and check it out,” said follower Jason Tuttle.

This year, daylight helped welcome the dogs to a finish line full of energetic followers.

“The trail borders my land. I have a forty acre parcel they go around,” said Tuttle.

He headed down the road, just a short distance from home.

Dozens of Beargrease fans, spending this special day, together.

“This year I was able to do a lot of volunteering on trail. I was at most of the checkpoints both on the way up and on the way back,” said Morrow.

For her, moments of excitement made way as Anderson and his team took first place in this year’s marathon.

“More important than winning is just what the dogs look like right now,” said Anderson.

Dedicating his time after mushing over 400 miles, to make sure his dogs are still number one.

“I’m just real pleased with the way the dogs performed and how it all ended up. When I come up the edge of the road there, near the finish line, it’s the last hill you have to climb and  you’re thankful to get there,” said Anderson.

Anderson ran eight different lead dogs throughout the race, and tells FOX 21 the fresh snowfall on the trail helped slow down his team, preventing any injuries.

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