WTIP talks with Altemus and Schmidt following their victory sweep in the Gunflint Mail Run
Mere hours after their victories in the Gunflint Mail Run, two Cook County mushers met with staff from WTIP to discuss the 2023 race.
The race took place Saturday, Jan. 7, near and along the Gunflint Trail.
Matthew Schmidt won the 12-dog race. Erin Altemus took first place in the shorter distance eight-dog race.
In addition to being a mushing team, Altemus and Schmidt are married.
Schmidt finished with a time of 6 hours, 31 minutes and 08 seconds. This is his second consecutive Mail Run victory.
Altemus finished in 6 hours, 07 minutes and 17 seconds on the shorter track.
Altemus and Schmidt form the mushing team Sawtooth Mountain Racing. They are established in the local mushing community and beyond, competing annually in races across the country, including the upcoming John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon in northeastern Minnesota.
Regarding the 2023 race, both mushers noted a water hole that opened on the course that led more than a dozen teams to scratch. The water made it difficult for many of the teams to complete the course, though approximately 15 teams did cross the finish line this year. Altemus stood in the frigid water and helped numerous teams through. Even with this factor, she still took first place in the eight-dog race.
When it comes to the setting for the Gunflint Mail Run, Schmidt says the Gunflint Trail community is emblematic of what generosity and looking out for one another are all about.
WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs visited the Sawtooth Racing headquarters in Cook County and spoke with Altemus and Schmidt on Sunday, Jan. 8. Audio below.