• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
1m 5s

Tough competition: World Eskimo-Indian Olympics features muktuk contest

By Heather Hintze 9:30 AM July 18, 2014
FAIRBANKS –

It’s a whale of a competition.

“Muktuk eaters ready…set…go!” yelled the announcer.

Not all the games at the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics are about strength and agility; sometimes it’s just about how much you can stomach.

Janie Snyder knows what it takes to win the muktuk eating contest.

“A little chewing and swallowing whole if you can,” she divulged.

The 67-year-old Barrow resident has competed in the event for more than two decades. Competitors are tasked with eating a two-inch-by-three-inch piece of blubber and skin from a bowhead whale.

Muktuk is an Alaska Native staple, though Janie finds this batch a bit bland.

“We prefer salt,” she said matter-of-factly. “It tastes like seafood. Any seafood. It’s better than shrimp. ”

Ulus worked frantically as competitors cut it up so it’s easier to swallow.

“I’m doing good,” said Vanessa Tahbone from Nome. “I got pretty close. Tastes delicious!”

A couple minutes in and Janie was feeling good, though she couldn’t tell you that with her mouth full.

“Mmm…mmmm,” she mumbled.

Just a few more muktuk morsels and she was ready to wrap up the competition.

She set her ulu down, stretched her arms out and opened her mouth wide so the judges could see it’s all gone.

“I did it,” she laughed. “I did it.”

Latest Stories

  • Lifestyle

    Great Pumpkin Weigh-Off sets a new state record

    by Lauren Maxwell on Aug 30, 15:54

    An  Anchorage man has taken top prize for his record-setting pumpkin at the State Fair in Palmer. Dale Marshal’s pumpkin tipped the scales at 1,469 pounds, beating the old state record by more than 180 pounds. Marshal said he’s been pursuing the record for the last five years and had a good feeling about today’s winning […]

  • News

    Alaska Native elder and leader dies at age 77

    by Associated Press on Aug 30, 15:19

    ANCHORAGE — John Schaeffer Jr., an Inupiat Eskimo elder and tribal leader in northwest Alaska, has died. He was 77. Schaeffer was the first president and CEO of the NANA Regional Corp. NANA Chief Operating Officer Lori Henry says Schaeffer died Aug. 25 in Kotzebue, his hometown. He will be buried in Kotzebue on Wednesday […]

  • DayBreak

    Alaskans line up by the dozens for first taste of Krispy Kreme

    by Sierra Starks on Aug 30, 13:31

    Alaskans lined up by the dozens for their first taste of Krispy Kreme Tuesday. Doors opened at 5 a.m., but eager customers camped out overnight in anticipation of the “Hot Now” light to be turned on. “There were so many people here,” said Krispy Kreme Alaska franchise owner Jack Lewis of the crowd that gathered […]

  • Politics

    ‘I made a mistake’: Juneau lawmaker withdraws letters supporting convicted child abusers

    by Liz Raines on Aug 30, 12:53

    Juneau representative Cathy Munoz has withdrawn two letters she wrote in support of sentencing review for two convicted child abusers after receiving criticism from child advocacy groups, who said the move would discourage victims from coming forward. “The two letters I wrote in support of sentencing review unintentionally caused pain to victims of sexual abuse […]

  • News

    Obama cuts short the sentences of 111 federal inmates

    by Associated Press on Aug 30, 12:02

    WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama has cut short the sentences of 111 federal inmates in another round of commutations for those convicted of nonviolent drug offenses. Obama has long called for phasing out strict sentences for drug offenses, arguing they lead to excessive punishment and incarceration rates unseen in other developed countries. White House […]

  • News

    Alaska agency turns to crowdfunding for park project

    by Associated Press on Aug 30, 11:54

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – With Alaska’s fiscal crisis drying up funding for a number of state projects, officials hope a crowdfunding campaign will raise $50,000 toward shoring up a crumbling riverbank creeping toward century-old buildings at a state park. Alaska is among a growing list of governments and civic organizations across the country going that […]

  • News

    Politics, shootings undercut criminal justice overhaul

    by Associated Press on Aug 30, 10:19

    WASHINGTON (AP) – Hopes for overhauling the nation’s criminal justice system have faded in Congress this year, undercut by a rash of summer shootings involving police and the pressure of election-year politics. Republicans had joined forces with Democrats in hopes of revising the 1980s and ’90s-era federal “tough on crime” laws to reduce prison overcrowding […]

  • News

    4.0-magnitude earthquake strikes east of Anchorage

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Aug 30, 4:49

    You might have felt a shake 4:27 a.m. Tuesday. The University of Alaska Fairbanks Earthquake Center reports the 4.0 quake hit 25 miles east of Anchorage, 10 miles north of Girdwood, in the Chugach Mountain Range.