'Stupid Alaskan Tricks': a showcase for odd skills

Posted: Wednesday, September 01, 2010

FAIRBANKS - River running took on a new meaning Monday afternoon as nine-year-old water skier Amber Hajdukovich skimmed over the calm waters of the Chena River powered by a six-member sled dog team running along a sandbar.

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John Wagner / Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
John Wagner / Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Amber's best water ski run lasted 17 seconds before the dog team, led by Yukon Quest musher Brent Sass, ran out of sandbar and into the shallows.

Bystanders watching from across the river at Compeau's riverbank boat landing laughed and cheered at the spectacle, all part of a hastily put together lineup of "Stupid Alaskan Tricks" for a New York media developer and cameraman who were on hand for the display and four other uniquely Alaska specialties.

Monica Clark, 17, pulled 10 chin ups on a moose rack supported by a forklift.

Scott Sisk filleted a Tanana River king salmon blindfolded.

Roy Harding Katairoak downed a quarter pound of muktuk in record time.

Troy Conlon chainsawed a bust of former Gov. Sarah Palin out of a large spruce log.

Alaska tricks definitely, but stupid depends on your perspective.

All were done with style, grace and good humor by locals and aired live on radio station KXLR-FM 95.9.

Radio announcer Glen Anderson provided tongue-in-cheek, blow by blow accounts of the action. Glenner even downed a couple of pieces of muktuk in the spirit of sportsmanship.

The hilarious tricks were put together in just a week's time by Glenner and his pal Craig Compeau. Both men are known to let their imaginations roll and dream up wacky and fun events to entertain themselves and the community.

"I'd do this all the time if I could," Compeau said.

Before Conlon was even finished with the ex-governor's bust, Compeau had e-mailed the former "First Dude" Todd Palin to see if he wanted to buy it.

"If he doesn't buy it, I'll probably put it in our showroom and auction it off at one of the sportsmen's auctions," Compeau said.

Owner of a shop selling snowmachines, ATVs and boats, Compeau also had lined up a World Eskimo Indian Olympics ear pull champion to pull an ATV with his ear, but the champion got an out-of-town job that kept him from Monday's lineup.

WEIO muktuk eating champion Katairoak, showed up eating a Big Mac. And before he polished off about a quarter pound of sliced whale blubber, he also tucked away a portion of raw caribou meat he had on hand.

"I need that for a base to line my stomach," Katairoak explained.

Originally from Wainwright and Point Barrow, the Inupiat Eskimo wouldn't share the secret of his muktuk eating prowess that has made him No. 1 in the annual contest for more than a decade.

Clark, a Monroe Catholic High School student, had never done a chin up via a moose rack before Monday's event, but she cheerfully agreed at the request of a friend.

For Sisk, filleting fish is a skill he practices daily at Interior Alaska Fish Processors, where he has worked as a butcher for the past 15 years.

As he effortlessly filleted a large salmon blindfolded, something most people can't do with their eyes open, Sisk joked, "The good thing about being blindfolded is you don't get stage fright."

Later, Sisk confessed that he was pretty warmed up for the event. "I filleted about 200 of these this morning, and 600 a week isn't unusual," he added.

Musher Sass, who contributed six dogs from his 66-dog kennel, Wild and Free Mushing, to provide the water-skiing power, readily agreed to become involved in Compeau's unusual request.

"I'm always up for crazy stuff," he said.

Sass's well-trained dogs jumped in and out of the boat at his command when Compeau drove them over to the sandbar on the opposite shore for the waterskiing exhibition. And they barked joyfully, charging after him as he sprinted ahead on the sandbar.

"The dogs were excited by the water," Sass said. "It was good for them."

New Yorker Todd Baker of Good Baker Productions and Zymurgy Productions said "Stupid Alaskan Tricks" is being pitched to four networks.



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