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A pair of Inupiaq brothers from Nome, Alaska, Oliver and Wilson Hoogendorn, have won a grand prize of $500,000 in the first season of a national reality TV show series competition called “Race to Survive: Alaska."  

The episode aired on USA Network on Monday, June 5.  The show kicked off in April showcasing eight different two-person teams and six races that took place across uncharted terrain in Ketchikan, Kodiak, and Cordova, Alaska. The brothers competed over the summer across the 50-day survival course, traversing more than 100 miles and ultimately became the first winners of the show. 

The brothers faced tremendous challenges, including terrain and wilderness, but preserved and brought the win home to Nome, where they were born and raised. Teams were only allowed to use what they could carry on their back and used their wilderness skills to make it through the race. 

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Oliver works as a commercial fisherman and Wilson works as a gold diver. The two were the first Native Alaskan team to summit Denali in 13 days and skied down the highest peak in North America in one day. They have honed their wilderness skills their whole lives hunting moose, seals, and whales using traditional indigenous methods. 

In an interview with TV Insider, the brothers said they plan to use their winnings to give back to the Nome community —  providing lumber, uniforms for the cross-country team, as well as building houses and donating to a food bank.

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About The Author
Kaili Berg
Author: Kaili BergEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Staff Reporter
Kaili Berg (Aleut) is a member of the Alutiiq/Sugpiaq Nation, and a shareholder of Koniag, Inc. She is a staff reporter for Native News Online and Tribal Business News. Berg, who is based in Wisconsin, previously reported for the Ho-Chunk Nation newspaper, Hocak Worak. She went to school originally for nursing, but changed her major after finding her passion in communications at Western Technical College in Lacrosse, Wisconsin.