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Family members face off in Eskimo stick pull

By Heather Hintze 6:17 PM July 17, 2014
FAIRBANKS –

It’s a hand-to-hand contest that brings family members face-to-face.

“A lot of it is hand grip and using your legs and your back,” explained Christina Glenzel.

The Eskimo stick pull had cousins squaring off and even mothers and daughters dueling for the title Thursday.

“It’s really awesome,” said Christina’s mother, Amber Glenzel. “We’ve been competing against each other for five or six years now. She’s schooled me many times and put me in my place. But it’s the ultimate feeling competing with her,” she beamed with pride.

There aren’t many sporting events where athletes can take on their parents. That’s clearly not the case at the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics in Fairbanks.

“It’s different because I play basketball but I can’t really go against my mom in basketball,” said Aizah Sullivan. “But in this it’s equal and it’s fair. It’s traditional, so I think it means more.”

Aizah and her mother Mandy Sullivan were two of the top competitors.

In the double-elimination contest, the two were both undefeated and ended up competing against each other.

It was the best two out of three. Mandy won the first, Aizah the second. It came down to a coin toss and Mandy took the inside grip to win that round.

Aizah knew beating her parental powerhouse wouldn’t be easy.

“It happened two years ago. She got first and I got second,” she said. “So it’s kind of like a repeat. I’m always trying to get ready and beat her and learn from her and see how she does.”

“It’s exciting because I’m not young,” Mandy laughed. “She’s tough. I know I’ve never been easy on her and because of that we’re really doing a good match. So whoever wins has really earned that honor to win.”

A few more matches then it was Mandy and Aizah in the finals.

Mandy proved once again mother knows best. Maybe next year it will be Aizah’s turn to take home the title.

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