Backwoods Girl Champion Brooke Ames of Soldotna wins a new Stihl Chainsaw for her trophy from Homer Saw and Cycle.
For the first time a Soldotna mom, Brooke Ames, has claimed the title of Backwoods Girl Champion at the Peninsula State Fair in Ninilchik, the birth and only place where Backwoods Girl competitions are held. Inspired by Hobo Jim’s popular Backwoods Girl song, the competition has grown from a Fair novelty to a main attraction that this year drew 15 contestants and hundreds of spectators. The event is sponsored by Homer Saw & Cycle who donates the Backwoods Girl prize and trophy, a new Stihl MS 210 Chain Saw. Brooke Ames has entered the competition for the last three years, but this year motivated by her husband and 10-year-old daughter she got serious about bring home the chain saw, “My first year I tied for second and brought home 4 bags of dirt, and my second year I didn’t even place, but this year I’m really excited and happy to have a new chain saw,” Ames told the Dispatch. What made the difference between Brooke’s last year finish and the championship this year, “Well anyone who knows me knows I’m not the best cook, and frying eggs is the hardest part of the whole competition for me, so since my first year I’ve been practicing cracking an egg with one hand whenever I make eggs for the kids. Some people thought that was a silly thing to do, but it paid off this year along with the advice from my ten-year-old daughter Halley who said ‘Hey Mom if you don’t want to break the yoke be sure you put the egg shell real close to the pan when you open it and it won’t break as easily, so I listened to her and it didn’t break, so I didn’t loose any points,” said Ames, who does not intend to just hand over her prize to her husband, “I use to use my mom’s hand-me-down chain saws, but now I have my own new saw and my husband will have to fight me to use this one, so I really want to thank all the folks at the Fair who put so much work into making this unique competition happen and the people at Homer Saw and Cycle for providing the prize.” Ames most likely will return to the Fair next year to defend her title, “I told my husband that this would be my last year since I won and he said Oh no no! You have to enter next year and win one for me,” laughed Ames.
One of Ames competitors and first Backwoods Girl out of the starting blocks was Mary Claire Foecke of Homer who said it was mainly peer pressure that got her in the competition, “I wasn’t going to have anything to do with this but six of my colleagues from work are here and they talked me into it, and then I had to go first which I think was a disadvantage, because I’d never done this before. But we’re all women here and we support each other and they told me when to grab the baby and I had a lot of support from the crowd and it was great fun,” said Mary Claire. Veteran competitor Bea Klaich of Anchor Point had the fastest time last year but lost points for breaking the egg yoke, “I’ve been practicing all year cracking eggs with one hand for my family and doing the skillet flip, so I’m ready to rock this year,” said Klaich. All contestants had to haul wood in a wheel barrow along a 12” curving course without allowing the wheel to travel outside the line, stack the fire wood, haul a full 5 gallon pail of water, fry an egg, and start a fire with one match and keep it burning for 60 seconds, all the while carrying a doll the size of a baby on their hip, and “Who couldn’t love a Backwoods woman like that?”
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