“On your mark, get set, SHUCK!”

THE ICEWORM FESTIVAL IS probably the only place in the world where “You suck!” is regarded as encouragement, not an insult. The place was Cordova, Alaska, it was the first weekend of February, and it was Saturday afternoon at the Powder House, where the annual Oyster Shuck-and-Suck Contest was about to begin.

Anybody could compete in shucking and eating a dozen oysters. Whoever did it in the least time won. Gloves, knives and aprons were provided. Tabasco, cocktail sauce and lemon juice were optional. So was beer.

“All right, gentlemen,” Libby Graham, owner of the bar, said. “On your mark, get set, SHUCK!” I have seen bears eat salmon with more finesse. “You gotta wear it, Obie!” somebody yelled, and Obie did, all over his shirt, his jeans, his beard and his hair.

Support was loud and vociferous. “Come on, Dave, suck!” “Shuck it, Larry, let’s go!” “Shuck that sucker!” Gerald Kompkoff won first prize with a time of two minutes and forty-eight seconds.

Done, he threw up his hands like he was scoring a touchdown and yelled, “Anybody want a kiss?” No one did. There are things I will do for Alaska Magazine, and there are things I won’t.

Alaska Traveler Chatter

Dana View All →

Author and founder of Storyknife.org.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: