Catching up with Rita Wehseler, winner of Beargrease 120
Photo courtesy of Stony Creek Kennels
Outdoor News

Catching up with Rita Wehseler, winner of Beargrease 120

We are in the height of dog sled racing season, so we thought it might be a good time to check in with local musher Rita Wehseler, whose Stony Creek Kennel is in Cramer, a small spot on the map near Finland, Minnesota. Wehseler was the winner of the 2022 John Beargrease 120.

Wehseler has been racing in local dog sled races for 20-plus years and is well-known on the West End of Cook County. The 2022 Beargrease 120 win is her first in this race. Wehseler told WTIP that she considered not running the race this year. She said she didn’t think her team was prepared. But, she laughs, “the dogs had another idea!”

Wehseler’s finish was so fast that when she crossed the finish line at Trestle Inn in Lake County, there was no media on scene. Fortunately, Wehseler’s sister was there to capture the moment. The photo you see above is Wehseler, her dogs and handlers, Carly O’Connor, Jess Brayman and Alayna Carrier.

When we talked to Wehseler, she was preparing for the Northern Pine Sled Dog Race in Iron River, Wisconsin on Feb. 19, a 32-mile race, which she said is a really nice race with “not a lot of pressure.” Her Beargrease team did well in the Northern Pine Race as well, as Wehseler finished first in that race as well.

Next up, Wehseler will be running in the Copper Dog Sled Dog Race 150 in Calumet, Michigan, starting on March 5.

WTIP’s Rhonda Silence spoke with Musher Rita Wehseler about her mushing career, baking, Birch Grove Community School and more.