Pitbull takes The Big Hurt north

Kodiak or Bust
By DAVID THORPE  |  July 10, 2012

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Well, Pitbull invited me to go to Alaska with him.

In case you missed this whole stupid thing, Pitbull announced a contest in which he'd visit whichever local Walmart store got the most Facebook likes. For laughs, my friend Jon Hendren and I started a Twitter campaign to send Pitbull to Kodiak, Alaska. It took off on Reddit and Gawker; within a few days, the AP made it a national story. As I write this, Kodiak seems to have an insurmountable lead, with around 55,000 likes. Walmart reps have made it clear that they won't weasel out — if Kodiak wins, Pitbull will party there.

On July 3, I woke up to texts telling me the story had made it to NPR and Good Morning America; throughout the day, it wound up on CNN, Billboard.com, and a bunch of other places. Then, around 8 pm, Pitbull hit me up with a tweet:

"U should come with me to Kodiak since ur are so invested in me going there bro . . . ur welcome 2."

Of course, I accepted; I'd be a fool not to join Pitbull in the frozen north.

Anything could change in the next few days (voting at the Walmart Facebook page ends July 16). Pitbull could retract his invitation; Miami could pull ahead; Kodiak could be destroyed in a volcanic eruption. Most likely, the whole thing will stop being funny and fade away. But tonight, it kinda seems like I'll be Zumba-ing my ass to Alaska. Better get my shit together. Here's my Kodiak to-do list:

• First, make sure this isn't that weird dream where Pitbull invites me on an Alaskan vacation and I can't wake up. No, it's real this time; this is truly a thing.

• Scan Pitbull's tweet for veiled passive-aggressive vibes; have a small panic attack about Pitbull's entourage feeding me to a bear. Inconclusive; better double-check it for romantic vibes, too.

• Get in touch with a former Kodiak resident for a little recon. Says ex-Kodiak Coast Guard brat Andy Delgado: "I hear they just recently opened a Taco Bell in the past few years. People were pissed because it replaced a KFC." Furthermore: "The last celebrity that I know of that visited Kodiak was Donny Osmond, back in the '90s sometime. People freaked out about that."

• Check the CNN comments to get a feel for the local mood: "I live in Kodiak, and most people here don't really care about this. . . . Frankly, Kodiak (and Alaska in general) is a place for exiles: we like to think of our remoteness as sanctuary for those who don't fit in anywhere else, hence our 'crackpot' reputation. It's a pastiche of personality and culture that would take Pitbull if no other place else wanted him. . . . . Let him do what he wants, just don't scare all the fish and deer away with loud music. "

• Rent that Kevin Costner/Ashton Kutcher joint The Guardian, which takes place in beautiful Kodiak; movie involves Coast Guard heroes drowning in icy water nonstop. Mentally prepare for nightmares where Pitbull throws me off a helicopter into a merciless, churning grey sea.

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