Published on July 19th, 2012 | by Emma Gedge0
Moose on the Loose? The Annual Moose Dropping Festival
Nope, don’t start limbering the biceps up or stretching those quads, there’s no actual moose lifting (or dropping) involved here. A good eye and steady hand may be more useful in this event (and perhaps a strong stomach if you’re the queasy sort!). The Annual Moose Dropping Festival actually involves dropping a load of moose poop onto targets from (wait for it) a balloon. Brilliant.
This rather curious event takes place in the small Alaskan town of Talkeenta, which has a population of just fewer than 900 people. About 40 years ago in 1972 a bunch of local folk decided they wanted to celebrate their awesome little town and get it recognised on the map. California’s Angel’s Gold Camp has their frog jumping contest and a town somewhere in Montana has a buffalo chip throwing contest so why not do something similar? Somehow, they decided that a moose nugget (guess it’s better that calling it moose poo) tossing contest was the way forward.
So anyhow, some clever kid called Pete Dana built a 4 x 8 target made from painted up plywood whilst his friend Ace Ebling pulled the short straw and had to go collect as much moose poo as he could find, before baking it and spraying it gold – bingo, golden moose nuggets! They then created the aim of the game, which rather simply involved throwing the moose nuggets onto the target and trying to get them to land on a number. At the end of the game, all the numbers are added and the player with the highest total wins.
A little while later the Veterans of Foreign Wars started to drop the moose nuggets from helium balloons, up to 1000 nuggets were numbered and dropped onto a target in the VWF car park, a raffle was drawn and the person with the ticket number closest to the target won a cash prize. There’s also prizes for the second and third closest nugget to the target, and even a bogie prize for the nugget furthest away from the target.
In 2006 the Moose on the Loose auction was added to the event where local artists, companies etc. make plywood into colourful moose statues before donating them to be displayed throughout Talkeenta. After that’s done the creations are then auctioned off with the proceeds going to charity. Nice huh?
Nowadays it’s still a rather awesome place to chillax with the laid-back valley folk, enjoy the general festivities and perhaps even sample some reindeer sausage. You can pretty much guarantee everyone present is just as barmy as each other since they all drove at least 2.5hours to see moose poo fall from the sky.