August 27, 2009

Ultimate Saluki Challenge set for Sept. 25-27

by Christi Mathis


CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Three days. Untold challenges for body, mind and spirit. Can you endure, survive and even triumph?

That’s what contestants in the third annual Ultimate Saluki Challenge at Southern Illinois University Carbondale will find out Sept. 25-27 during SIUC’s version of the popular CBS reality show “Survivor.”

Set on the campus beach, boat dock and at the Student Recreation Center, the contest features a variety of challenges, contests and rewards. And every few hours, contestants will gather for a “Tribal Council” where they’ll vote to send one of the competitors packing.

In previous competitions, students have tested their mettle with challenges including eating balut (a hard-boiled, nearly developed duck fetus), rolling giant tires, swimming, solving puzzles, standing while holding gallons of water aloft and much more. When it’s all said and done, there will be one final Tribal Council -- site of the vote that determines the 2009 Ultimate Saluki.

“Our goal in providing events such as the Ultimate Saluki Challenge has always been to provide an opportunity for students to make a connection to SIUC that will not only enhance their educational experience but also provide lasting friendships that will help retain our students. In working with this program we have certainly had the opportunity to witness successes among our participants. It is truly a unique experience and we’ve been blessed to watch our students succeed through participation on all levels whether as a volunteer or a participant,” said Lynne Thompson-Cundiff, assistant director of fitness for Recreational Sports and Services.

Past participants in the Ultimate Saluki Challenge say the event is exciting, enlightening and life changing. They’ve forged lasting friendships, had fun, and learned much about themselves, they say.

Kevin Ruby of Wheeling is the reigning champion, the 2008 Ultimate Saluki Challenge winner. He said the event was a bonding experience that taught him many things, including not taking food for granted and just how far he could push himself and his body.

Mike Skupin, of “Survivor: Australia” fame, will be the guest host for the 2009 Ultimate Saluki Challenge. All full-time undergraduate and graduate students in good academic standing are eligible to enter. Sixteen applicants will vie for the title and major prizes including a $500 book scholarship, an Ocoee River adventure trip, and a Missouri Valley Conference package including two tickets to the basketball conference championships and lodging in St. Louis.

Visit for the complete application and contest details. Or, call 618/453-1277 to find out more about the 2009 Ultimate Saluki Challenge. The entry deadline is 7 p.m. Sept. 16 to submit application packets at the second floor Student Recreation Center administrative office reception desk.