Junked-car scrapper gets Carhartt award

Ketchikan man owns the ugliest, most odoriferous pants in the entire town

Posted: Wednesday, April 28, 2004

KETCHIKAN - Tom Konen's well-worn and well-scented bib overalls beat out the competition to win the Ugliest Carhartt Trade-in Contest.

"It was the most unpleasant to the eye, but it was the most unpleasant to the nose, too," said Jill Gates, a sales clerk in the Outfitter section of the Tongass Trading Co.

Customers brought in a total of 33 pieces of Carhartt heavy-duty work clothes to trade in, said Karl Biggerstaff, the store's general merchandise sales manager. By late afternoon Saturday, a row of tattered and splattered pants, bibs and jackets lined a store rack.

"It was like a little Carhartt party," Gates said. "It was a very hard decision as to the winner."

But it was Konen's red-quilt-lined, side-zipped, traditional brown bib overalls that carried the contest. Konen, who scraps junk cars for the Ketchikan Gateway Borough, received the bibs four years ago from his in-laws, Barbara "Bobby" and Charlie "Tuna" Jacobson.

"They've probably gone through 300 or so junk cars," Konen said Monday, describing the process of removing tires, draining fluids and disassembling the vehicles. "They've done their service."

Konen's prize was a $100 gift certificate, while the others who traded in their old Carhartt's got 20 percent off a new item of Carhartt's clothing and a Carhartt radio.

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