SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Planning For The Next Big Thing


March 16, 2010

Ketchikan, Alaska - With all of our eyes shifted north to see who crosses the Iditarod finish
line first (I bet it will be a dog), it's time to harness up the old entrepreneurial spirit sled and come up with some ideas for other funtastic events to boost our great state.

jpg Dave Kiffer

For example, our Vancouver friends are still basking in the afterglow (or maybe it's just that the fourth leg of the Olympic torch has finally come on) of their Olympics. But what have they got happening now and in the immediate future? The upcoming Stanley Park Magic Mushroom Frolic just isn't going to cut it.

With the Iditarod already underway, we need to be looking ahead. We need to be planning for the next big thing.

I'm never afraid to borrow something (the line about the dog being first in the Iditarod was stolen from the Right Honorable Rev. George Pasley), so first up, kudos to the Anchorage Daily News for first promoting of the idea of an "Iquitarod" in honor of the former governor when she decided to "spend more time with her family" last summer.

But why not take it step farther (or further if you prefer). She's reportedly been house hunting in every state in the union (or at least those with early primaries) so her new contest - at least in relation to Alaska - is the "Isplitarod."

This time of year, an event called the "Isplitarod" would be very welcome amongst the year round denizens of the Last Frontier. Unfortunately, it doesn't do much for the local economy if we are spending our permanent fund checks in Maui and Cabo.

So what can we do to "enhance" our statewide event calendar and actually bring some suckers, uh, I mean "visitors" northward?

Here are some modest proposals.

Islitarod - A fish gutting contest could be big business with all those beefy fisherpersons who clog up the seats on Alaska Airlines every summer. Then again, they probably don't really want to "self process" the fish they catch. It gets spots on all those spotless Cabelas shirts they seem to favor.

Perhaps another "outdoorsy" option could be:

Ispitarod - I see these goofy tobacco spitting contests all the time, Well, I see them mentioned all the time, usually in some back country fair in the hills of the Deep South. Imagine the tie-ins with the Red Man or Chattanooga Chew! Of course, there is the nasty little problem of the spittoons to deal with. They really dot the landscape and don't add to the Big Wild natural picture that is Alaska. Perhaps we could link them with
the "honey buckets" that visitors seem to find so quaint about rural Alaska?

Speaking of rural Alaska, it could hardly be more rustic if we could figure out a way to celebrate our outhouses. Perhaps a 1,000 mile race to visit all (or at least a large portion) of them. We could call it the (CENSORED). Could be big!

Marathons always have big carbo busting meals to kick them off. The (CENSORED) could begin with a giant chili feed. We would have plenty of methane left over. Talk about your "All Alaska Gas Line."

Yet, maybe I'm missing the point here and I shouldn't be trying so hard to appeal to Alaskan life and lore. Maybe something totally off the wall like:

Ihitarod - Wouldn't bring very many visitors but the publicity from the New York tabs (who love to hit A-Rod too) would be priceless.

No, you're right, it has to have at least some tangential relationship to Alaska.

How about our state sport? No, not dogsledding or cross-country skiing. I'm talking about the "sport" of whining about things and not raising a finger to do anything about it:

Isnitarod - Sure, sure, nothing like a bit of cabin fever to get things going. We could treat outsiders to the lovely sight of how we really treat each other after the last cruise ship leaves and we wipe those stupid
obsequious grins off our faces. There could even be sub categories (like the Iron Dig) in which we engage in "snits with firearms" or "snits with sharp objects."

Okay, I can see that you want there to be some benefit out of this exercise. Exercise, yeah, that's the ticket. We could combine the Isnitarod with a 1,000 mile race and make it the Ifitarod, which plays on both
meanings of "fit."

No, never mind. That sounds like way too much exertion. (See below.)

How about a contest for columnists and other bloggers who just cannot stick to one topic. The Iflitarod! But as usual I digress.

I guess that the most logical event to promote at this point is the one that takes advantage of the fact that while we love to watch of the Iditarod, the operative word is "watch." We don't really want to race it (unless your name is Angie Taggart, of course) but we like to fantasize about it as we walk our dog "teams" around the block in the rain.

Truth is, the only event for most of the us is - my personal favorite - the Isitarod.

Really, what is more awesome that lounging around the Last Frontier in a big fat Barcalounger (beer and remote optional).

It could go hand in hand with the Iknitarod.

There would even be some "friendly" competition between the knitters and the sitters for the control of the remote.

Best of all, it can be "blogged" live since we are now in a world in which social networking is more important that any other activity.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I bring you (in 144 characters or less) the Itwitarod.



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Dave Kiffer is a freelance writer living in Ketchikan, Alaska.
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