Meet the T200 Mushers
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.”
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.
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.”
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.”
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