WEIO Day 3: These games leave no part of the body untested

Published: Jul. 15, 2023 at 10:39 AM AKDT|Updated: Jul. 15, 2023 at 12:52 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTUU) - Whether it is the knuckle hop, the high-flying kicks or the excruciating ear pull, the World Eskimo Indian Olympic Games leaves no part of the body untested.

However, some of the games require more technique than physical ability — like the Dena stick pull that took place on day three of WEIO.

The ultimate test of grip, the game mimics grabbing a fish by the tail, such as from a fish wheel, and tossing the fish ashore.

And no fish were slipping through the grasps of Nome’s Marjorie Tahbone, who won the competition for a third year in a row.

“I just focus on trying to grip as hard as I can and pull as fast as I can, so that I can get that fish,” Tahbone said.

Meanwhile Forest Strick used his ninja-like reflexes to take the men’s gold.

“My dad is big in Dena Games, Robert Strick, and I used to pull against him as a kid and I think that has helped a lot,” Strick said after defeating me in an exhibition match. “He is a bigger guy so I would practice all the bigger guy sports with him, he definitely showed me some techniques.”

One of the most popular — and painful — games is the ear pull, the ultimate test of endurance to pain. It is a tug of war of the lobes and sometimes good genetics help as the men’s final featured Frank Lane Sr. defeating Frank Lane Jr. for the gold.

“I talked my son into finally doing it, he was here last year but he didn’t do it, so I am glad he did. And I said ‘Son, I felt a tear, you have to learn to back off with dad,’” Lane Sr. said after winning the competition for a second year in a row. “It was one of the better feelings, I was like ‘Oh, we’re here, and this is the moment son!’ And I was like, ‘hey just give it your best, it’s just me and you son!’ It was fun.”

The women’s final was a literal bloodbath, as both Caroline Wiseman and Flora Rexford suffered cuts on the back of their ears with significant bleeding. However, that didn’t stop the two warriors from finishing the round with Wiseman coming out on top — but both left the Games to receive stitches.

The 2023 World Eskimo Indian Olympics conclude Saturday in Fairbanks.