Wednesday, February 29, 2012

2012 Iditarod Preview

February 29, 2012 – Anchorage AK

Sixty-six dog teams are preparing for an adventure down the Iditarod trail, in the 40th running of “The Last Great Race”, set to begin Saturday.

John Baker returns to defend his title from last year, after placing 2nd in this year’s Kuskokwim 300.

Rick Swenson, the only musher to win 5 Iditarod titles, is once again on the trail, along with 4-time champions Lance Mackey (3rd place in Yukon Quest, 2nd in the Knik 200, 5th in the K-300), Jeff King (1st Place Sheep Mountain 150, 2nd Tustumena 200) and Martin Buser (9th K-300), who will be racing along side his son, Rohn, this year’s Kuskokwim 300 champion.

Three generations of mushing will be represented by the Seavey family: Dan Seavey, who ran in the inaugural Iditarod in 1973; his son, 2004 Iditarod winner Mitch; grandson Dallas, the 2011 Yukon Quest champion. The tradition is set to live on, as 15-year old Conway Seavey won the 2012 Junior Iditarod this past weekend.

Hugh Neff hopes to capitalize on his Yukon Quest win, bringing several of his winning team dogs to the race, as does Aliy Zirkle (Don Bowers Memorial 300 winner), running some of the dogs her husband Allen Moore ran to a 2nd place finish in the Quest.

Other notable veterans include Jake Berkowitz (Knik 200 Champion), brothers Ramey and Cim Smith (Tustumena 200 winner), Ken Anderson, Paul Gebhardt, DeeDee Jonroe, Aaron Burmeister, Gerry Willomitzer and “Father of the Iditarod” Joe Redington’s grandsons Ryan Redington and Ray Redington Jr.

Sigrid Ekran of Norway, the 2007 Rookie of the Year returns, as do veteran mushers Karen Ramstead, Kelley Griffin, Jodi Bailey, Michelle Phillips, Karin Hendrickson, Colleen Robertia, Zoya DeNure and the Berington twins, veteran Kristy (9th place Yukon Quest) and rookie Anna.

There are 15 rookies entered, including Yukon Quest veteran Brent Sass (5th place Yukon Quest, 1st place Gin Gin 200), Josh Cadzow (Yukon Quest 300 champion), Iditarod veteran Zach Steer’s wife Anjanette Steer (winner of the Northern Lights 300) and two mushers who plan on finishing what they started in 2010: Pat Moon and Hank Debruin, both of whom scratched in their rookie attempts. German musher Silvia Furtwängler will run her rookie Iditarod with the help of her leader Whistler, who created a stir by running off immediately after landing in Alaska, before being safely returned.

The Iditarod begins Saturday at 10am with the ceremonial start in downtown Anchorage; the re-start is Sunday afternoon at 2 in Willow.

Musher Listing

Ken Anderson, Fairbanks AK
Jodi Bailey, Chatanika AK
John Baker, Kotzebue AK
Kirk Barnum, Grangeville ID
Anna Berington, Kasilof AK (Rookie)
Kristy Berington, Kasilof AK
Jake Berkowitz, Big Lake AK
Aaron Burmeister, Nome AK
Martin Buser, Big Lake AK
Rohn Buser, Big Lake AK
Josh Cadzow, Fort Yukon AK (Rookie)
Bob Chlupach, Willow AK
Art Church, Jr, Willow AK
Lachlan Clarke, Buena Vista CO
Travis Cooper, Big Lake AK (Rookie)
Hank Debruin, Haliburton ONT CANADA (Rookie)
Zoya DeNure, Gakona AK
Sigrid Ekran, Sparbu NORWAY
Matt Failor, Mansfield OH (Rookie)
Silvia Furtwängler, Rauland NORWAY (Rookie)
Paul Gebhardt, Kasilof AK
Matt Giblin, Juneau AK
Kelley Griffin, Wasilla AK
Trent Herbst, Anchorage AK
Karin Hendrickson, Wasilla AK
Scott Janssen, Anchorage AK
DeeDee Jonrowe, Willow AK
Peter Kaiser, Bethel AK
Jeff King, Denali AK
Jaimee Kinzer, Willow AK (Rookie)
Jim Lanier, Chugiak AK
Sonny Lindner, Two Rivers AK
Bruce Linton, Kasilof AK
Lance Mackey, Fairbanks AK
Kelly Maixner, Big Lake AK
Wade Marrs, Wasilla AK
Pat Moon, Park Ridge IL (Rookie)
Hugh Neff, Tok AK
Ryne Olson, Two Rivers AK (Rookie)
Curt Perano, Queenstown NEW ZEALAND (Rookie)
Braxton Peterson, Fairbanks AK (Rookie)
Nicolas Petit, Girdwood AK
Michelle Phillips, Tagish YT CANADA
William Pinkham, Glenwood Springs CO
Karen Ramstead, Perryvale AB CANADA
Ray Redington Jr, Wasilla AK
Ryan Redington, Wasilla AK
Colleen Robertia, Kasilof AK
Mike Santos, Cantwell AK (Rookie)
Brent Sass, Fairbanks AK (Rookie)
Justin Savidis, Willow AK
Dallas Seavey, Willow AK
Dan Seavey, Seward AK
Mitch Seavey, Seward AK
Cim Smyth, Big Lake AK
Ramey Smyth, Willow AK
Gerald Sousa, Talkeetna AK
Anjanette Steer, Sheep Mountain AK (Rookie)
Jan Steves, Edmonds WA (Rookie)
Ed Stielstra, McMillan MI
Michael Suprenant, Chugiak AK
Rick Swenson, Two Rivers AK
Tom Thurston, Oak Creek CO
Michael Williams, Jr., Akiak AK
Gerry Willomitzer, Whitehorse YT CANADA
Aliy Zirkle, Two Rivers AK

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