October 22, 2010

Sixteen will compete to become ‘Ultimate Saluki’

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Three days. Sixteen people “marooned” in the forest, striving to be the last one standing.

The Ultimate Saluki Challenge, a competition mirroring the CBS reality show “Survivor,” returns to Southern Illinois University Carbondale on Halloween weekend. The fifth annual Ultimate Saluki Challenge begins at 3 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 29, as participants check in and head out to the Touch of Nature Environmental Center.

Throughout the weekend, the competing SIUC students will test their mettle during a variety of challenges -- some mental and some physical. In previous competitions, contestants solved puzzles, rolled giant tires, swam across the campus lake, lofted big jugs of water overhead for long periods and even eaten balut, a hard-boiled, partially developed duck fetus.

“Through a collaborative partnership by Touch of Nature and Recreational Sports and Services, the 16 Ultimate Saluki Challenge participants will participate in an amazing, weekend-long challenge that will test their survival skills, stamina and ability to balance competitiveness with interpersonal dynamics to avoid being voted out by their peers,” said Sally Wright, associate director of programs for Recreational Sports and Services.

Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and news crews are welcome to cover the Ultimate Saluki Challenge. See the schedule below for the times and locations for the challenges and tribal councils. Many of the challenges lend themselves to good photograph and video opportunities. The challenges and tribal councils this year will be at the Touch of Nature Environmental Center, located about eight miles south of Carbondale off Giant City Road.

For more information, contact Lynne Thompson-Cundiff at 618/203-2511 or Sally Wright at 618/453-2511.

The 2010 challenges are, of course, a closely guarded secret. Suffice to say competitors will find their bodies, minds, spirits and perhaps even their stomachs tested. They’ll be roughing it, just like their television counterparts. They’ll make and break alliances, work and have fun with one another and in the process, learn much about themselves.

During each of the many challenges, they will be vying for immunity because every few hours, a tribal council will convene and to vote one student out. Along the way, contestants can win rewards too. Wright said the rewards will be items to help them better deal with their stark weekend living conditions, things like blankets and other basics.

Competitors will name the 2010 Ultimate Saluki at a final tribal council set for 4 p.m. on Halloween at Touch of Nature, about eight miles south of Carbondale off Giant City Road. Mike Skupin, star of television’s “Survivor: Australia” is again the guest host for the Ultimate Saluki Challenge and he’ll preside over the final council. If there’s inclement weather, the final tribal council will move indoors to the Student Recreation Center at 5 p.m. on Oct. 31.

“I think Mike Skupin’s continued involvement in the game over the last four years is testimony to his love for our campus and the students who put themselves out there,” Wright said.

Prizes for the 2010 Ultimate Saluki Challenge include a $500 book certificate from the University Bookstore courtesy of Larry Dietz, vice chancellor of student affairs and a Missouri Valley Conference basketball tournament package including tickets and lodging for two to the MVC tournament in March. Other prizes include an Apple iPad from The Pointe, a high ropes and climbing package from Touch of Nature, a base camp trip from Recreational Sports and Services, three round-trip train tickets from Carbondale to Chicago or points in between from Amtrak, a gift from Shawnee Trails and much more.

Here’s the schedule for the 2010 Ultimate Saluki competition challenges and tribal councils:

Friday, Oct. 29

• 3 p.m. -- Check-in, travel to Touch of Nature, dividing into teams.

• 4:30 p.m. -- Challenge.

• 6:45 p.m. -- Tribal council at Chapel.

• 7:30 p.m. -- Challenge.

• 9:30 p.m. -- Tribal council at Chapel.

• 10:15 p.m. -- Challenge.

• Midnight -- Tribal council.

Saturday, Oct. 30

• 6:30 a.m. -- Challenge.

• 8:30 a.m. -- Tribal council.

• 9:15 a.m. -- Challenge.

• 10:30 a.m. -- Challenge.

• Noon -- Tribal council.

• 12:30 p.m. -- Tribal council.

• 1:15 p.m. -- Challenge.

• 3 p.m. -- Tribal council.

• 3:45 p.m. -- Challenge.

• 5:45 p.m. -- Tribal council.

• 8 p.m. -- Challenge.

• 9:45 p.m. -- Tribal council.

• 10:30 p.m. -- Challenge.

• 11:30 p.m. -- Tribal council.

Sunday, Oct. 31

6:45 a.m. -- Challenge.

8:45 a.m. -- Tribal council.

9:30 a.m. -- Challenge.

11:30 a.m. -- Tribal council.

12:15 p.m. -- Challenge.

2 p.m. -- Tribal Council.

4 p.m. -- Final Tribal Council at Touch of Nature. In case of inclement weather, the final tribal council will move to the Student Recreation Center at 5 p.m.

The 2010 Ultimate Saluki contestants, shown by hometown with their major and year, are:



• Ryan Stroup, junior, accounting.


• Yikai Zhao, junior, marketing.


• Caleb Shaw, sophomore, sports administration.


• Brynn Freed, graduate master’s, curriculum and instruction.


• Kyler Cook, junior, English.


• Joann Waclawek, senior, recreation.

Lake Zurich

• Devon Fortelka, junior, athletic training.

Oak Park

• Emilio Velez, freshman, radio-television.

Orland Park

• Ryan Siriann, junior, management.


• Anthony Grzyb, senior, aviation flight.


• Emily Joswiak, freshman, animal science.


• Sean O’Connor, graduate masters, professional media and media management.


• Missy Gurga, junior, speech communication.


• Cade Moody, senior, physiology.



• Quinton Hooks, graduate master’s, therapeutic recreation.



• Daniel Egharevba, graduate master’s, electrical and computer engineering.