Coming up: The Talkeetna Bachelors Auction and Wilderness Woman Competition.Posted by Donna Freedman on Oct 28, 2013 | 18 comments
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Come up and join us at the Talkeetna Bachelors Auction and Wilderness Woman Competition and you’ll dine out on those stories for years.
True, it’ll be winter* — Dec. 7, to be exact — and that means it’ll probably be cold. But that’s the whole point! You’ll be in Alaska in the winter.
You’ll survive. I promise. There’s a bonfire at which to warm yourself during the competition, and the auction and after-party are actually pretty warm due to the hootin’, hollerin’ and dancin’.
Besides, Talkeetna has a doctor.
I wanted to link to my first-ever article about Talkeetna, published in 2010, but my site was migrated to a new server and that first piece doesn’t seem to have made the jump from hyperspace. So I’m excerpting from that piece to explain the absolute hilarity of the event:
On a dark winter night in 1981, regulars at the Fairview Inn in Talkeetna, Alaska, looked around and realized that every single person in the room could pee standing up.
Where were all the women? Someplace else! So the town’s bachelors decided to throw an irresistible party.
Thus was born the Talkeetna Bachelor Auction and Wilderness Woman Competition, a double-barreled event designed to bring women to the snowy confines of this small town near Mt. McKinley. It’s one of several Alaska places purported to have inspired the town in “Northern Exposure,” but it’s best known as the jumping-off place for climbers who want to tackle the mountain.
When I lived in Alaska my friend Linda Billington and I always used to attend, both to celebrate my birthday and to have a screamingly good time. “Screaming” is the word: The kind of whooping and hollering that goes on during the auction used to make the Log Cabin VFW shiver – and it really is made of logs. These days the event takes place at the Sheldon Arts Hangar, which allows for more women to attend.
And they should. Ladies: You may never again feel this universally desired. The local bachelors wait all year for this and are determined to show female visitors a good time. Your dance card will be as full as you want it to be.
And yeah, what happens in Talkeetna stays in Talkeetna.
Bunk with the blogger
Linda and I usually go up on Friday afternoon and return after breakfast on Sunday. We rent the entire top floor of the Latitude 62 hotel, a very basic establishment with a bar and restaurant, and we’d be up for splitting the cost with roommates. The earlier you signed on, the more likely you’d get a real bed vs. a rollaway or the couchlike things in the middle room. (Actually, I’m willing to sleep just about anywhere that’s flat, so I’d be willing to cede a bed to a visitor from Outside.)
There are technically nicer places to stay, but we like the Latitude – the food is good and the conversation is better, and the hotel has its own dog you can go downstairs to pet.
Believe me when I say “very basic.” The rooms don’t have TVs or telephones. But what do you need those things for? You’ll keep plenty busy on Saturday during the morning and afternoon, and you’ll want a nap before the auction and dance.
Think of it: Alaska in December! On purpose! The moose, the northern lights, the potential for a sled-dog ride or a flight-see of Denali (the local name for McKinley)….
And, of course, the men. That’s another reason to come up on Friday: You can hit the Latitude and other local watering holes to preview the XY pulchritude that will be up for grabs at the auction.
The odds are good…
Anyone can enter the Wilderness Woman Competition. It’s a jokey race to do tasks such as driving a snowmachine (they’ll teach you), carrying water, shooting a moose (a guy in costume, who dies most dramatically when you nail him with a paintball gun), loading firewood, snagging Styrofoam salmon, and bringing a sandwich and beer to a griping bachelor.
(Most of the food and beverage lands on the bachelor, to the delight of the spectators. They’ve taken to swathing the guy in Visqueen.)
At the Saturday night auction, women will find out if they won. They’ll also be able to bid for the attentions of the Talkeetna men, some of whom clean up real nice and some of whom, well, don’t. There’s a reason for that old saying about the more-men-than-women ratio: “The odds are good – but the goods are odd.”
Incidentally, both the competition and the auction are absolutely all in fun. The money raised supports several local charities.
Talkeetna is a real Alaska experience, but an accessible one: Fly to Anchorage on Friday and rent a car. Talkeetna is about 115 miles north of Anchorage.
Nervous about driving on snow? They do plow. Honest! But you can also stay the night in Anchorage and get up hecka early to catch the morning northbound train on the Alaska Railroad. That will set you back $76 each way, but it’s a gorgeous ride and, more to the point, the bachelors meet the train with love and longing in their eyes.
Like I said: You may never feel this fabulous again. (And you may be able to catch a ride back to Anchorage with someone else who’s going that way — especially if you offer to chip in for gas.)
Interested? E-mail me with any questions at SurvivingAndThriving (at) live (dot) com. I’m serious about the roommate thing, too. Linda’s already rented the top floor, and that dog downstairs is waiting to be petted. So are the bachelors.
Read more about this event at:
- Live from Alaska: Frozen pipes, bachelors on credit and suggestive pizza
- Tweets from Talkeetna
- Tweets from Talkeetna: The sequel
*Yes, I know it isn’t actually winter on Dec. 7. But it sure feels like it.