August 20, 2008

Sign-up under way for Ultimate Saluki Challenge

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Strangers stranded in a rugged locale, struggling to survive and competing in the numerous challenges before them. Which tribe will dominate? Who will be the ultimate survivor? You’ve seen it on television and now, Southern Illinois University Carbondale is hosting its very own “survivor” competition.

The Ultimate Saluki Challenge mirrors the popular televised survivor competition. Twenty students will be “stranded’ on the SIUC campus beginning at 3 p.m. Oct. 3. They’ll form two tribes and live with minimal items to help sustain them. They’ll work together to set up camps and form cooperative societies. They’ll compete in contests for rewards to make life a bit easier. And, just as on the television show, there will be tribal council meetings as participants gather and vote off fellow contestants.

Contestants will test their mettle at campus beach, Touch of Nature Environmental Center and the Student Recreation Center. Every few hours, they’ll vote, eliminating one from their group. The competition runs through 10 p.m. Oct. 5. Ultimately, a jury comprised of eliminated contestants will form the final tribal council and choose the Ultimate Saluki, winner of the ultimate prize! The last vote and final presentation will feature Mike Skupin of television’s “Survivor- Australia.”

Previous contestants say the event is fun, rewarding, challenging and a great way to connect with their fellow students.

“I walked away from the challenge with a new sense of friendship,” said Joshua Sheehan, a senior recreation major from Crystal Lake who competed in the 2007 Ultimate Saluki Challenge. “No matter what happens in the future, I will always have a connection to these people and the Ultimate Saluki Challenge. I would strongly encourage as many people as possible to try and get involved. It is truly a life-changing experience and any one of the participants or spectators will be able to tell you that.”

Contestants can enter the Ultimate Saluki Challenge now. The contest is open to all SIUC undergraduates taking at least 12 hours of classes this fall or graduate students enrolled in a minimum of six hours who are in good academic and disciplinary standing. Registration forms are due at the Student Recreation Center information desk no later than Sept. 10.

Applications for the third annual Ultimate Saluki Challenge are online at and available at the Student Recreation Center or other locales all over the SIUC campus. The Web site also features video from last year’s competition. Visit or the Facebook group “2008 Ultimate Saluki Challenge” to find more details, or contact Sally Wright, assistant director for SIUC Recreational Sports and Services, at 618/453-2511