On the Local News to Talk About CVA's Closing

>> Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Short story: I was on the news for 11 seconds on Friday night:

Link on Kare11's website here.

As I noted on my photo blog, I should have shaved. And combed my hair. And just stayed out of the camera's view altogether. This is why I prefer to be BEHIND the camera.

Long story: I got a tweet from Kare11 reporter Dave Berggren asking for an interview on Friday (my last day at CVA). I tweeted him back, we talked over the phone, and 30 minutes later he was in the parking lot of CVA's Western Building ready for a quick tour of our emptied out photo facilities.

I asked how he found me. I wondered if he searched for tweets about CVA (I've been Instagramming a number of depressing photos over the last few weeks.) He smiled and told me that one of his producers is an endurance athlete and is a fan of my blog. Ha! Too funny!

Then I asked Dave if he remembered OUR history. He kinda felt bad and said "Oh shoot... have we met before?" I said "Yep: the summer of 2004. State Fair. The 'Channel 45 Ultimate Extreme Challenge.' Remember that?" His eyes got wide: "You were everyone's favorite!! Oh God Steve! How are you?!?" We shared a few old stories that made us laugh from that summer 9 years ago.

I posted about about the "45 Ultimate Extreme Challenge" on my blog 5 years ago:

In the summer of 04, I was chosen as a contestant for the “Channel 45 Ultimate Extreme Challenge” where the winner received a new SUV. Twelve strangers were locked into a 12x12 plexiglass box (with no roof) at the Minnesota State Fair for up to 10 days. We competed in 4-5 challenges each day that were a mix between gross and extreme. Then, at the end of each day, we voted one person out (if you won a challenge, you might be immune to getting voted out). It was much like “Survivor” meets “Fear Factor.”

The only thing we were fed was microwave popcorn and Kool-Aid. My normal 4-5 poops per day dropped 10 fold quickly (really - I only pooped once every-other day). We were not allowed to bring in any personal hygiene items: no chapstick, deodorant, toothbrush, Q-tips, sunscreen, etc.

I was voted out on the morning of 6th day in the first “big twist” of the competition. The twist was that the individual winner of the first challenge that day was able to vote one person out of their choosing, and Anthony (the winner) picked me. Damn it Anthony. My prize? Fuzzy teeth, stinky pits, and wax-encrusted ears.

Dave Berggren (the Kare11 reporter) was just out of college at that time, and he was working for Channel 45. He was one of the main people around helping to "host" the Challenge at the State Fair. Here are 3 photos from our old photo album from that Challenge:

Just locked in "the box" with my wife's family in front. And that's Dave on the far right.
You can see the entree "box" here - with no roof. I lived in there for SIX DAYS.

In our orange jumpsuits with Dave. I'm the lowest one near the left.

Back on the last (wet) day to vote for the winner.
That's Dave 2nd from the left and me 5th from the left in the back.

Some of the kinds of challenges we did were things like:

- who can eat a raw red onion like an apple the fastest (no toothbrushes!!)
- who can transfer the most goldfish with his/her mouth from one bowl to another
- who can stand on a pail with 20 clothespins attached to their face for the longest time
- who can "bob for trout filets" (and get the most) in milk while avoiding the pickled fish
- who can get the biggest cheers after a 2 minute stand-up routine

I knew I was in trouble when I did really good on the 5th day. I won a few of the challenges that day, and at the end of that day, I won the "stand up comedy" challenge. Doing well that day put a target on my back. So when we had the "big twist" the next morning where Anthony got to vote one person out of his choosing, I knew I was in danger. Sure enough, out I went. My wife found out right away from a lot of her friends who were watching the live feed online of the challenge. (I distracted a LOT of people from their jobs during that summer - and remember, this was streaming video in 2004 which was kinda rare.)

I got voted out, grabbed a slice of pizza at the State Fair, and walked home. After eating just popcorn and Kool-Aid for 6 days, I'd lost TEN POUNDS. Here's a photo when I was leaving home just before getting locked in "the box:"

And here I am, 6 days later, and 10 pounds lighter:

It looks like I lost all 10 pounds from my neck and face. I look like an elf or pixie...

So Dave and I both had to laugh about being reunited 9 years later for this story. When he started at Kare11 a few years ago, my wife and I would both point out "It's DAVE!" whenever we saw him on the weekend news.

Nice to see you again, Dave, and thanks for putting us back in touch, Jen!! Too bad it was under such sad circumstances.... #RIPCVA


Maddy 8:44 AM, June 05, 2013  

Totally remember watching you in a grainy fish bobbing challenge while at work. Good times :)

T 9:39 AM, June 05, 2013  

the photos don't work for me and i'm sad. :( but that's a funny story!

Andy 11:04 AM, June 05, 2013  

You sound exactly how I expected. This is a relief! My whole world would have been shaken if you had a British accent.

Dave Berggren 4:08 PM, June 05, 2013  

These are GREAT memories! I was (secretly) rooting for you Steve. I'm so glad we reconnected, but still saddened by the closing of CVA. PLEASE keep in touch. I'll try to get better about tweeting you...I don't have a million followers like you...maybe I should put the word Speedo in my handle.


Alecia Taylor 6:23 PM, June 05, 2013  

Popcorn, raw onion, fish & milk... with no toothbrush!

Mary VonEnde,  3:33 PM, March 06, 2014  

Hello Steve,

I cant help but have the biggest smile on my face, for a few reasons. One, I am in the midst of revamping my resume, and I wanted to look up a logo for the Channel 45 Extreme Challenge, where the first photo I looked at, I noticed there was a description with the photos and come to find when I clicked the blog attachment, I find this well written article, and well you. What a small world.
Secondly, after reading your post, I would have to agree, I was hoping the best for you too, well second place atleast, first place for me. :) You were so nice and sweet, and well after I was voted off the same day, and well I thought I made an alliance, that I guess didn't matter, I had wished you could have made it further. But what an experience!! Thirdly, I think you left out one of the best challenges, eating a hissing cockroach! I don't know if you snacked on yours, but mine didn't get anywhere near my mouth. haha But I gotta say, eating a whole ripe onion with nothing to wash it down with was a bit much. From what I hear though, we didn't go through the worst of it.
Lastly, Dave, you were the one that made living in a box a little bit more tolerable, you made every day fun, and well I think all us girls had a small crush.
I am so happy to see you all are doing so well. I will definetly have to catch up on your blog posts, you now have another loyal follower.
I watch the DVD made for us here and there, and frankly just in shock, that I would 'run' into you after all these years, and reading your articles no less. Happy Thursday! Cheers!

- Mary VonEnde

(I was the shorty with the outspoken personality and the cool hair)

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