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Story Last modified at 3:46 p.m. on Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Awards galore given out over four-day Bear Paw festival



Led by Janet Fales on the microphone, "soldiers" on the Prudential Jack White Vista Real Estate float strut their stuff outside "Camp Prudential." The real estate company's float claimed first prize in the Bear Paw Festival's Grand Parade, which was held Saturday, July 9 in Eagle River.

Leslie Lance is a volunteer extraordinaire.

At an awards ceremony hosted by the Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce July 6 at Bear Mountain Grill, Lance's tireless devotion to the Bear Paw festival earned her the festival's highest honor, the 41st Community Service Award.

Chamber president Pete Mulcahy said Lance, who has been working as a Bear Paw volunteer for over a decade, does just about every job imaginable before, during and after the annual event.

Among Lance's many duties, Mulcahy said, are managing the paid Bear Paw staff (known as "Leslie's Crew"), driving flatbed trailers, staging the Slippery Salmon Olympics and many, many more.

"She takes a full week unpaid leave to volunteer her entire time to Bear Paw. We love her – not just because she has a pickup truck – but for her amazing skill sets and talents that are required to run the logistics during a large event," Mulcahy said.

Lance was the final honoree during a luncheon that also honored several other individuals and businesses for their contributions to the community of Chugiak-Eagle River. Also earning ceramic Bear Paw plaques were the Eagle River Boys and Girls Club, which won the 41st Annual Bear Paw Community Service award for an organization; along with Terry Beaty (Chugiak-Eagle River Volunteer Services Award), Peggy Hayashi (C-ER Chamber Spirit of the Festival Award), and MTA, which won the C-ER Chamber President's Award.

The awards Wednesday were the first of dozens of honors handed out during the four-day festival. Among the other top awards were the Grand Parade Grand Prize, which went to Prudential Jack White Vista Real estate; the Salmon Cook-Off Best Overall Salmon Dish, which went to Rob Nesvick; and the Miss Bear Paw, which was won by Eagle River's Johna Rutz.

Here's a list of all of this year's Bear Paw award winners:

Bear Paw Pageant

Miss Bear Paw – Johna Rutz

Mr. Bear Paw – Kody Trobmley

Bear Paw Princess – Maggie Wallace

Bear Paw Prince – Forrest Campnell

Mr. Congeniality – Taylor Andrews

Miss Congeniality – Hannah Ferguson

Costume Award – Bre Bhangu

Community Service Award – Blake Rinckey and Maggie Wallace

Grand Parade

Grand Prize – Prudential Jack White Vista Real Estate

Judges Award – Alaska Military Youth Academy

Lola Pederson "Spirit of the Festival" Award – Anchorage Corvette Assn.

Bill Lowe "Community Spirit" Award – Eagle River High Football and Cheerleaders

Commerical – 1. Prudential Jack White; 2. SBS; 3. Home Depot

Youth float –1. Eagle River High Football and Cheerleaders; 2. (tie) Eagle River Orthodontics Barrel Train and Stone Path Montessori; 4. Eagle River Parks and Rec Summer Camp "USS Bear Paw"; Honorable Mention: American Heritage Girls Troop 2008

Non-profit – 1. "USS Santa Maria," Knights of Columbus Council 9830; 2. (tie) Matanuska Valley Federal Credit Union and Chugiak High Football; 4. VFW Post 9785

Autos – 1. Anchorage Corvette Association; Honorable mention: British Sports Car Club, Christian Motorcyclist Association and Home Optics

Music – 1. Front Row Seats Band

Marching/Walking – 1. Alaska Military Youth Academy; 2. Navy and Air Force ROTC of Chugiak and Eagle River High Schools; 3. Okamoto's School of Karate

IBEW Jammin' Salmon Cook-Off

Best Smoked Salmon – Courtney Huseman

Best Salmon Appetizer – Eric Bushnell

Best Salmon Entrée – Mary Helms

Best Soup or Chowder – Mary Helms

People's Choice – Eric Bushnell

Best Overall Salmon Dish – Rob Nesvick

Odor Eater's Rotten Sneaker

1. Mason Bennett; 2. Chase Trombli; 3. Carter Dinkel

Slippery Salmon Olympics

1. Matt Ferdya and Kyle Johnson (sponsored by the Hahn Family); 2. Ben Rinckey and Jack Walters (sponsored by Neighborworks)

Car show

Best Truck – Chuck Link, 1955 Ford pick-up

Best Competitive Vehicle – Rick Nissen, 1967 Camaro

Best Street Machine – Kim Nissen, 1968 Camaro

Best Street Rod – Terry Erikainen, 1932 Ford Hiboy

Best Sports Car – Joe Anama, 1967 Corvette

Best Import – Bill Crawford, 1960 Kaman Ghia

Best Stock Pre-1948 – Bob Bartlett, 1930 Ford pick-up

Best Stock Post-1948 – Mark Robinson, 1955 T-Bird

Bear Paw Award – Mark Robinson, 1955 T-Bird

Motorcycle show

Cruiser (1101cc and up) – Deb Sinclair

Cruiser (451 to 1100cc) – Jay Runyan

Cruiser (450cc and below) – Travis Fahlsing

Sport Bike (701cc and up) – Elizabeth Howe

Sport Bike (701cc and below) – Fighter Stein

Touring or Bagger – Troy Gladle

Vintage Custom (20 years or older) – John Williamson

Vintage Stock (20 years or older) – Patrick Donnelly

3-Wheels, Trikes, Sidecars – Bob Griffiths

Dual Sport – Larry Phyfe

Rat Bike – Nyne White

Radical Custom/Choppers – Fernando Rodriguez

Ambassador's Choice – Mykola Green

People's Choice – Dick Lochner

SBS Duct Tape Bear name

"Major McGrizzly Pants," Rita Turner

This article published in The Alaska Star on Wednesday, July 13, 2011.