Prepping for Doomsday: Alaskans, Including Fairbanks’ Craig Compeau, Make Reality TV Debut
There was one problem, though. Compeau had no idea what “Doomsday Preppers” was. Having never heard of the show (“Quite a surprise to the producer who called,” he said), Compeau declined, telling her he didn’t consider himself a prepper. He did tell her he had concerns about the current administration’s spending and the possibility of a global economic meltdown. He also talked about how he felt citizens’ Second Amendment rights were being stripped away and how the crime rate in Australia changed after the government there instituted a weapons ban and buy-back program.
“I started talking about my favorite subject, the manmade global warming theories, before she interrupted me and forced me to stay on topic,” Compeau said. “I told her I was not, however, one of these folks that lay awake at night hunkered down in an abandoned missile silo full of Spam, Top Ramen and Charmin.”
After numerous requests, Compeau agreed to fill out NatGeo’s bio sheet and fax it back so producers could review it. From there, Compeau started doing his own research on the show. He asked friends and family members about “Doomsday Preppers” and prepping in general, and learned that, to his surprise, several were what are called “practical preppers,” meaning they store dried foods, water, toiletries, medications, weapons and other goods in case some disruptive event cuts off supply routes to Fairbanks.
“‘Preppers’ is not a one-size fits all category,” Compeau said. “I own a wood boiler, I keep a pair of bunny boots and snowmachine gear in the back seat of my truck. My freezer is full of moose, caribou and salmon. I own a generator that can keep my home going if I lose power at minus 50 F. I have more than an adequate amount of weapons and ammo. I own some traps. Members of my family are ham radio operators and medical professionals. One is both.”
Compeau pitched the idea of being on the show to his daughter, Emily, who is a film media major at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She eagerly accepted the offer, excited to see a major TV network film and editing crew at work.
“It was a lot of fun, but what we do up there is pretty normal,” she said of taking the film crew approximately 200 miles north of Fairbanks to their prime hunting spot. “It’s where we hunt in the fall, and I’ve been up to the dome several times. But it’s the media, and when the media is involved, they do some editing to up the ratings.”
That’s a wrap
For five days just after hunting season, the NatGeo grew, Compeau, Kubley and Wood filmed scenes for the show airing Tuesday night. Skillfully edited clips on the National Geographic website show scenes of Kubley, Compeau and Wood hunting and harvesting moose, navigating Compeau’s SJX riverboat in rivers and playing the role of serious doomsday preppers. Compeau and Kubley shot the hunting footage used in the show before the end of hunting season to give the visual of taking moose down and harvesting the meat.