KODIAK, Alaska — Even with the state ferry Tustumena sidelined, the Kodiak State Fair and Rodeo was a big hit for spectators and participants.
Without the ferry, horses and cattle couldn’t arrive from the mainland, and some riders and volunteers couldn’t afford to fly. But that didn’t keep a few hundred people from the Kodiak Fairgrounds on Saturday and Sunday, the Kodiak Daily Mirror reported Tuesday.
What seemed like a vague dream not too long ago instead became a success.
“That’s the cool thing about this,” said rancher Chris Flickinger. “We’ll find a way to make it work.”
Volunteers stepped up, Flickinger volunteered his stock, and Craig Stratman brought horses. Some workers and riders flew in from the mainland.
“Rodeo people, they’re the most competitive people in the world,” Flickinger said. “But you see it here — they’ll be the first to help out.”
Rodeo announcer James Hastings said Alaska’s rodeo community is small and everyone knows each other. So when the ferry breaks down, as it has in Kodiak’s case, people line up to help put on the show.
“The cool thing about this rodeo is it’s true small-town, real rodeo,” said Hastings, who travels across the state, helping at events from Kodiak to Ninilchik to Anchorage.
Riders competed in roping and races, goat-tying and bull riding. Shawn Hall of Wasilla was named the overall men’s winner, and the overall women’s win went to Malisa Levenson of Homer.
Hastings made a vow to the assembled crowd of riders.
“I promise next year if they get that dad-gum ferry fixed, we’ll bring more riders, more stock and more volunteers so you don’t have to work so darn hard.”