While prying a reluctant razor clam from its lair a few days ago, an idea came over me: We ought to hold a local contest to see who best represents a "real Alaskan."
In the spirit of equality, men and woman will compete on an equal basis. In keeping with the Alaskan attitude that cheap is good and free is even better, there will be no entry fees. Prizes will be medallion-like, pressed from dried moose "nuggets."
Kenai River Chaos
In this event, contestants will attempt to net a simulated 75-pound king salmon while other competitors rock the simulated boat and throw bucketsful of water at the contestant. Other common hazards of fishing the Kenai could be simulated, such as colliding with other boats, being swept overboard by sweepers and having a line cut off by another boat.
Contestants will vie with one another on Fourth of July weekend to see who can pass the most vehicles while driving from Sterling to Soldotna, with extra points for large motor homes. The degree of difficulty will be enhanced by requiring drivers to hold a 16-ounce paper cup of hot coffee in one hand and a 10-inch Jersey Sub sandwich in the other while talking on a cell phone.
This contest will address Alaskans' general contempt for "the government" and "the way they do it Outside." Contestants will receive points for shooting off fireworks, racing down residential roads in off-road vehicles and letting their dogs run loose. Extra points will be awarded for "most obnoxious neighbor," "most holes shot in road signs" and "loudest noise and highest dust cloud generated by an ATV rider."
Contestants will compete to see who can come up with the most uses for duct tape. Off the top of my head, I can think of several. One is "remote control": taping the TV remote to your leg. Another is birth control. But I'm giving away good ideas.
Trash or Treasure?
Competitors will vie with one another to see who has the trashiest "house" and "yard." Bonus points will be awarded for the most junked vehicles, vessels and construction equipment. Buildings with Typar or blue tarps as permanent "siding" will receive extra points, as will landscaping that includes rusty barrels, disused outboard motors, wildly painted Conex containers and the like.
This event, a take-off on Talkeetna's "Wilderness Woman Contest," would show off real Alaskan couples. For his part, the man of the house sits in a recliner and reloads ammo while watching Sunday afternoon football in a simulated real Alaskan living room. Men can accumulate one extra point for each gun owned and for each 1,000 rounds of ammo cached since President Obama was elected. The little woman has to wash the man's "Spawn Till You Die" T-shirt on a washboard, hang it on a clothesline and prepare a salsa of chopped onions and salmon roe, which she takes to her husband through a hazardous maze of guns, fishing rods and kids' toys. The contest begins when the husband says, "Bring me a beer, Hon," and ends when she says, "Here you go, Sweetie," and serves it at him.
These events might need some fine tuning, but it's time we showed the world what real Alaskans can do.
Les Palmer lives in Sterling.
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