Nicolas Petit, 35, says his passion for dogs and sledding started while he was in diapers. He credits his first canine companion with teaching him to walk and jump–starting his love of dogs and ultimately dog mushing. Nick was born in France and grew up in Normandy, till the age of 12, when his mother remarried and moved him and his sister to New Mexico. Nick moved to Alaska in 2000, and adopted his first Husky shortly thereafter. During a visit to Wyoming, he went on his first dogsled trip and immediately got “hooked”. For this he thanks Iditarod veteran Billy Snodgrass for putting him on the runners. Ten years after adopting that beautiful Alaskan husky, he named Ugly, working construction, and dabbling with sled dog tour scene, he decided to pursue competitive dog mushing.
In fall 2010, Petit connected with 15-time Iditarod finisher Jim Lanier. Petit’s plan was to volunteer for Lanier, and possibly complete Iditarod qualifying races. However, Lanier’s hip needed replacing, so he asked Petit to run his team for 2011. Petit took on the challenge of qualifying, training and raising funds all in the same year as his rookie Iditarod. Petit not only met the challenge, he exceeded it by finishing in 28th place, first among 13 rookies, garnering him the 2011 Jerry Austin Rookie of the Year Award. Nicolas is running dogs from Raymie Redington’s kennel along with a few of his own. Petit lists his hobby as “snow.”
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Lance Mackey, was born and raised in Alaska. He says he’s been racing since before birth, from sprint to distance. He is a four-time back to back Iditarod champion, and a four-time Yukon Quest champion. He’s also run the Kusko 300, the Kobuk 440, the Wyoming Stage Stop Race, the Fur Rondy, the All Alaska Sweepstakes and lots of other races. Lance says, “I am too young to retire. I’m not passionate about any other sport. I grew up in this sport. Iditarod is in my genetics. I think the team I have now is better than any of my prior teams. All are now four, and even though I’m beat up, my team needs me to show the world and my competition – THEY ARE THE BEST! So I’m back to finish what should have happened last year, #5!” He says he is still in the “school of hard knocks.” Lance’s hobby is asphalt and dirt car racing. He is the father of Alanah, Amanda and Brittney, and Atigun.
Crispin lives in the Yukon Territory but is from Erlach. Switzerland
He is a prospector and started working with dogs in 2001 in the Yukon as a Dog Handler.
Crispin’s race experience includes the Yukon Quest, Percy DeWorlf, Kobuk 440.
He says he loves training and running dogs!
Lead dogs are; Witch, Prost
Andy Pohl, 43, may be listed as a rookie, but not to the Iditarod Trail. His experience includes riding a bicycle two different years in the winter to explore the trail. In 2014 he set out on a self-supported adventure to follow the Iditarod race riding his Fatback snow-bike, from Willow to Galena. He returned in 2015 with unfinished business and followed the length of the Iditarod trail to the finish from Fairbanks to Nome along the alternate route. Along the first journey, he met Kristy Berington at the Ophir checkpoint. Little did he know then how his life would be changed. Andy a lifelong Alaskan born and raised in Palmer, Alaska, is now married to Kristy. With the help of both Kristy and Anna Berington of Seeing Double Sled Dog Racing, he started learning to train for sled dog racing and raising puppies in Knik. The entire family has now become involved. Vicki Pohl helped get the new kennel established and designs and sews much of the needed mushing gear, and Raymond Pohl runs support and helps behind the scenes. Andy’s primary race experience includes many years of racing bikes on the Speedway Cycling Team, in Anchorage, specializing in ultra-distance cycling events, like 24 mountain bike races, Susitna 100, Soggy Bottom 100, and the Fireweed 400. Dog sled racing experience includes Willow 300, Northern Lights 300, and Gin Gin 200. His other resume lists him as a University of Alaska Fairbanks graduate and Mechanical Engineer working on building projects in all regions of Alaska from Ketchikan to Utqiagvik.
|Seeing Double Sled Dog Racing
Northern Edge Physical Therapy
Sea Fur Sewing
Kristy Berington, age 31, says, Kristy grew up in Northern Wisconsin and graduated from South Shore High School, joined the National Guard, and wrangled horses in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. “I’m a bit of a drifter,” Kristy says, “I lived in Wisconsin most of my life, spent a deployment in Washington and worked on a ranch in California.” The twins’ first dog team consisted of a Great Pyrenees and a Border collie, pulling a sled they built out of a pair of downhill skis and a milk crate. Kristy said after she started sprint mushing, she wanted to go farther and farther. She came to Alaska about seven years ago to run dogs. She became interested in the Iditarod when she met Dean Osmar and Paul Gebhardt, who taught her long distance racing. Kristy is a carpenter/musher.
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Anna Berington, 31, was born and raised in northern Wisconsin on a small farm. She became interested in dog sledding at an early age when she worked for a neighbor who raced sled dogs. After graduating from high school, Anna attended the University of Wisconsin River Falls and then joined the National Guard during which time she did a lot of traveling. She ended up in California working for a dog sled touring company. After some time there, she decided “giving tourists rides wasn’t enough, so moving to Alaska was an easy choice.” She started distance mushing with Dean Osmar and now works with Scott Janssen. “The best times I have had have been running dogs with my twin sister, Kristy. She taught me to mush, and I love being on the trail with her and my dogs.” She says that when she and Kristy aren’t mushing, they are running and competing in triathlons.”
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Monica Zappa, 31, was born and raised in northern Wisconsin where her family lived off the land and off the grid. She was born into a mushing family. Her mom and dad, Dan and Della Zappa participated in, and officiated, the John Beargrease Sled dog Marathon in Duluth, MN. After her dad’s sudden passing from a plane crash, she took a break from mushing to pursue academics. She holds a B.S. in Meteorology and a M.S. in Geography from Northern Illinois University. She also completed one year of a Ph.D. program at the University of Oklahoma where she also worked at the National Weather Center. In 2010 she left flat Oklahoma for the mountains of Alaska, and for dogs.
Soon after arriving in Kasilof she met veteran musher Tim Osmar and has been breeding, raising, training and racing dogs with him ever since. In the summer time Tim and Monica fish a commercial set-net site and operate summer dog kart tours. In the winter they take the dogs (and anyone else who dares to join) out for ultimate Alaskan adventures in the back country of the Kenai Peninsula. Since Monica hit the racing circuit three years ago, she is dedicated to use her publicity to help save Alaska’s wild salmon. She is an activist against the proposed Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay and opposes any similar, large-scale mining operations that could pollute Alaska’s precious waterways. Monica says her hobbies are “1) dogs, 2) mushing and 3 )finding ways to fund 1 & 2.”
Scott Janssen, the “Mushing Mortician,” 53, was born and raised in Crookston, Minnesota. He married his high school sweetheart, Debbie, in 1980. He graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1985 with a B.S. degree with a major in Mortuary Science. Scott and Debbie moved to Alaska in June of that year for Scott to work as a funeral director at Evergreen Memorial Chapel. He has been a mortician and funeral home owner for the last 29 years. They now, along with their friend, Jordan Eastman, own five funeral homes in Anchorage, Eagle River and Wasilla, including, Evergreen, as well as Alaska Cremation Center and Eagle River Funeral Home under the name of Janssen Funeral Homes.
Scott has been a friend and sponsor of Paul Gebhardt for 15 years and began mushing in 2007. He finished the Iditarod in 2011 with a team of Gebhardt dogs and in 2012, he had a blend of his own dogs and dogs from 1984 champion, Dean Osmar. His 2012 race went national when the story of the mouth to snout resuscitation of his dog, Marshall, was on Diane Sawyer’s World News Tonight, during the 2012 Race. Marshall fully recovered and is retired, living in the house with “full benefits” befitting an Iditarod veteran. He says “Iditarod has been his dream since 1986.” He and his wife of thirty years, Debbie, are the parents of two adult daughters, Angela and Chelsea. Their godson, Jaikob Stahnke, 9, is like a son to them, and they are proud grandparents of infant, Avalyn. Scott is a member of National Funeral Directors Association, Alaska Funeral Directors Association, Arch Diocese of Anchorage, Knights of Columbus, Kiwanis, Harley Owners Group and the Iditarod Official Finishers Club. He says he enjoys anything outdoors, including landscaping, hiking, hunting, fishing, ‘ridin’ his Harley and skiing on both water and snow.
Robert was born in Knik, AK and is a Sled Dog Mushing Guide Extraordinaire, you can defiantly say mushing dogs in in his blood! He started mushing dogs practically at birth and has been around sled dogs all his life. Robert says “The feeling I get from dog mushing is like having butterflies in the stomach. It’s hard to explain”
His main sponsors are Barb and Raymie Redington, Big Dan’s and Alaska Excursions
Lead dogs are Paper, Tennesee, Dozer, Trang, Dolly, BamBam,
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- Website: Link