Mushing and Marriage with the Schouweiler’s

Chelsie Brown
Updated: January 27, 2020 06:45 PM

Pre-Beargrease activities started the same for Irma, Wisconsin native Martha Schouweiler. Following vet checks, she signed posters before the race on Sunday. However, this year will be different for the four-time Beargrease mid-distance champion. Instead of running in the Beargrease 120, she’ll participate in the Beargrease 40 and then take over her duties as Grandma.


“It’s the first time I have not run them in I think 14 years, so it will be a change for for me, but it’s going to be so much fun. You get to see the baby, Big Ted, and that’ll be fun too,” said Schouweiler.

Representing Otter Run Kennel in the Beargrease Mid-distance race this year will be Martha’s daughter-in-law Erin Schouweiler. Erin married Martha’s son Chad who will be handling for the two of them during this year’s race. The couple got married following the 2019 Beargrease. It’s because of mushing the two of them even met.

“I think dogs definitely brought us together. I mean we never would have met without mushing. Without mushing we wouldn't have had Ted,” Erin said holding her 11-month-old son. “We knew each other through running dogs, but even before we knew of each other, we were at the same races and didn’t know it,” she added about her and her husband.

“Mushers are kind of a unique breed and so to get somebody that's non-musher that would really understand mushing would be unusual," added Martha.

Martha has been mushing since the early 2000’s and was able to string together four-straight wins from 2015-2018. Erin will take over part of that winning team which includes Gomer; an eight-year-old Husky who is running in his fifth Beargrease and was part of all of Martha’s winning teams.

"It’s kind of nerve-wrecking, no pressure,” Erin joked.

Erin has competed in the Beargrease before, but says it’s a different dynamic racing a family team. With some advice from Martha, she hopes to carry on a competitive Schouweiler tradition and make her new mushing family proud.

“For 365 days a year we’re just pouring ourselves into this for only just a few events and we do it. We do it with smiles on our faces and joy in our hearts. It’s just a wonderful, wonderful sport,” Martha added.


Chelsie Brown

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