Behind the scenes craziness

9:06 PM, Oct 23, 2010   |    comments
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It started with the KARE 11 News Saturday.  We had made our way through about 45 minutes of the show.  While Belinda was interviewing a chef, I was walking to the control room.  As I did, I saw Alan Page sitting in a chair by the studio door.

I introduced myself and thanked him for coming.  While I did, I thought to myself, I didn't see him in my show notes. 

After conferring with my producer in the booth, we came to a startling conclusion.  Neither of us had booked the Hall of Famer and Minnesota Supreme Court Justice. 

The mixup is complicated, but the important part wasn't the "how did this phantom booking happen"... but rather "what do we do now?!"

We concluded, a guest of this stature had to be squeezed in.  Thanks to the brilliant shuffling by our producer and director, a spot was made to Page. 

I had to speed read the foreword and press release of his book.  Then I raced up into the attic and got old NFL Films file footage of the legendary defensive tackle that we got cued up and ran during my interview with him.  I'll admit too, thanks to the deft scrambling of some incredibly talented behind the scenes people, the segment went rather well.

Later in the day, more frantic madness, resolved by some behind the scenes saviors.  I was scheduled to take part in the Pumpkin Regatta in Stillwater at their Fall Harvest Festival.  I was one of the four racers that would be in the hollowed out giant pumpkins that would then be rowed down the St. Croix river. 

The race was slated to start at 3pm.  It was 2:46 and I was coming into downtown Stillwater from highway 94 when all of a sudden I was stopped cold in traffic. I waited for five minutes and moved forward about ten yards during that time.

Panic stricken I called Rover and Charlie, the 2 KARE photographers that were on the banks of the river ready to shoot my race.  Charlie somehow had intimate knowledge of downtown Stillwater, and guided me over the phone through a U-turn, and a labrynth of a detour that somehow got me to the river with 2 minutes to spare!

But now where do I park?!

He met me in the road, and told me to get out and run towards the blonde lady.  I did, and he then parked my car somewhere.  The blonde lady then led me like an offensive lineman through the crowds.  Our 300 yard sprint finally got me to the river, when a race official saw me and hollered at the starter under the bridge to "Wait for Perk...he's here!!!"

Hundreds of onlookers waited patiently, some cheering, some jeering as two emergency workers attempted to speed dress me into a wet suit and a life jacket.  At one moment, one person was tugging my wetsuit, the other was buckling my life jacket, another, half submerged in the St. Croix, was trying to get the pumpkin close enough to me that I could hop into it.  All the while some other woman I'd never met, was holding my shoes for me.

As soon as I paddled under the bridge, they immediately started the race.  Exhale. 

The pace wasn't about to stop as I then had to eventually drive back from Stillwater soaked, while trying to get back in time to do the 6pm and 10pm news.  Fun times, and one that wouldn't have been fun at all, were it not for some very helpful hustlers.


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