February odds & ends

First off, I’d like to send a giant “get well soon!” to Tom Yamarone.  Yamarone is not only a great musician, but a wonderful friend and ambassador to the bigfoot world.  He is currently in rehabilitation, recovering from a stroke he suffered a couple of weeks ago.  He helped me out a ton when I was organizing Big Sky Bigfoot last year and honestly, getting to know him was one of the highlights of 2016 for me.  So I’d like to help give back.  Please visit the fundraising page that has been set up for Tom and his family, and consider making a contribution if you are at all able.  Every dollar helps!  Thank you!

A couple of recent news items have got me thinking about bigfoot in the Great Plains.  The Plains as sasquatch habitat is a subject that generates some debate, because, honestly, a lot of us don’t necessarily associate the cornfield flatlands of the midwest with large hairy hominids.

A few weeks ago, I discovered a news report detailing an alleged sasquatch sighting and trackway find in southeastern ND. (Be sure to click the arrow on the video to see a photo of one of the tracks.)

But later, in an anonymous letter mailed to the news station, a nameless person claims to have been behind it all. It was a prank, he or she writes, that (as we know pranks are prone to do) got a bit out of control.

The outdoorsman who found the tracks claims that not only did the line stretch on for miles in the snow, but also that it showed a four-foot step — both unlikely for what the reporter says was simply “a booze-fueled stroll on a pair of homemade Sasquatch slippers.”

The track photos, if indeed were found where they are claimed to have been found, don’t look like prosthetic big-feet marks to me.  On the other hand, who the heck writes an anonymous letter hoaxing a hoax?

As those of you who grew up playing Oregon Trail should know, the Great Plains once teemed with wildlife, including bison, wolves, and grizzly bears.  Why not bigfoot as well?  Of course, those days are far in the rearview mirror now, ever since the sodbusters brought “civilization” to the region.  The once-unbroken expanse of grassland has been replaced by miles of farm fields, arrow-straight blue highways, grange halls, and grain elevators.  But what remain are a handful of river & creek corridors lacing through the prairies that theoretically could offer migration routes for an elusive creature.

North Dakota isn’t the only plains state where bigfoot is reputed to walk.  Nebraska has a surprising amount of encounters (here’s one from a couple years ago), and the first Nebraska bigfoot conference took place this past weekend in Hastings, NE.  From the reports I’ve seen, it sounds like it was a great gathering, so bravo to the organizers.  I’m all for fledgling bigfoot conferences.  However, the proliferation of bigfoot meet-ups in recent years has drawn criticism.

Writes editor Daniel Perez in the January 2017 issue of Bigfoot Times, “My own opinion about Bigfoot conferences these days is a mixed bag.  They are great as a social mixer but for real content in the talks I have yet to see real detailed notes posted anywhere.  It just seems to me they are all about merchandise sales and you can just as well buy their products on line.”

Yes, I get Bigfoot Times and I don’t always agree with Perez, but it does offer a glimpse into some of the current goings-on in the bigfoot community (such as it is).  But I really beg to differ with his assessment here.  For one thing, many of the talks given at bigfoot conferences can be found on Facebook and Youtube if one takes the time to look.  Also, speaking as a conference organizer here, I am confident asserting that nobody’s getting wealthy off these things; if we sell a few products, it just goes to cover our costs. But most importantly — the “mixer” aspect is where  everything happens.  Sure, you can interact with fellow bigfooters (and trolls aplenty) on the web; but mingling face-to-face in a nonthreatening environment is where reports are exchanged, ideas are discussed, and friendships and research partnerships are formed.  They’re fun, sure, but also useful.  Maybe they won’t last forever, so let’s enjoy ’em while we got ’em.