Paul Kudla, a resident of Nome and truck driver for Stampede Ventures Inc., a BSNC subsidiary, competed on TruTv’s show “Santas in the Barn.” In the holiday-themed reality show, 10 diverse Santas competed in hilarious challenges that ranged from chimney climbing and sleigh stuffing to Christmas caroling and building gingerbread houses on ice. Over the course of eight episodes, the contestants had to vote out their peer contestants in the hopes of winning the title of America’s Best Santa, $100,000, and a $10,000 donation to the charity of their choice.
Kudla, a veteran of Santa competitions, was announced as the winner on the finale which was aired on Christmas Eve. Kudla’s charity of choice, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, will receive the $10,000 donation. In 2010, with Make-A-Wish Alaska and the help of Kawerak and other sponsors, Kudla flew to Shaktoolik to give Jacob Takak, a four-year-old boy diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, his wish of spending Christmas with his family. The entire community gathered to give Jacob his wish. “It was an honor to be there and I’d do it again in a heartbeat,” said Kudla. Tragically, a few months later and before Christmas, Jacob lost his battle with leukemia.