Klondike Founders, Mike and Pam Dennis (a.k.a. Musher Mike and Polar Pam) met in 1979 in Wasilla, Alaska when “Polar Pam’s Wild Alaskan Show” came to town. Mike, known as “Musher Mike” to his friends, was a world class dog musher, having won such notable races as the 1976 Iditarod, the Yukon Quest, the Siberian Slalom, and the Norwegian Naked Nordic.
Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of money in this sport, and feeding 12 dogs gets pretty darn expensive, even when 3 of them are mini-dachshunds. So Mike wanted to audition for a job as a dogsledder in the traveling show. There was just one little problem with this idea – this was Polar Pam’s act and she wasn’t about to share the spotlight with some amateur musher. In fact, Pam was famous throughout the Yukon for her glamorous dog mushing act.
Picture this: Pam would ride into the giant show tent singing an operatic version of the Alaskan Anthem, dressed in a gorgeous white polar bear coat that would magically fly off to reveal a stunning white rabbit fur bikini, while driving a jewel-encrusted, gold-plated dog sled pulled by 22 stylishly clipped white poodles. It was a sight to behold!
As Mike stood on the side of the ring, watching her rehearse before his audition, he knew he was sunk. He didn’t even have a matching team, let alone a fur bikini! As Pam whizzed by him on her dazzling dogsled, she laughed at him which caused her giant diamond tiara to fly off her head and hit Mike in the nose, knocking him unconscious.
Filled with remorse, she stopped her team and ran to him. As luck would have it, Pam had been a medic in the Vietnam War and was able to stop the flow of blood before it ruined her white rabbit fur bikini. Mike regained consciousness, but not his short-term memory, so he couldn’t remember what had happened, so he didn’t sue Pam.
Pam (relieved and feeling a little guilty) took pity on Mike and offered him a job clipping her poodles, which he gratefully accepted and soon they fell in love and married. In the ensuing years, Mike often made pizzas for all the performers in the show. His pizzas were so popular with the chainsaw log sculptors, penguin wrestlers, bull moose riders, and musk ox wranglers, that soon they were selling pizzas to the audience. In fact, Mike’s pizzas were so good and Pam ate so many, that eventually she no longer fit into her rabbit fur bikini.
Rather than give up Mike’s delicious pizzas (she could’ve cut back to just one Extra Large Pizza a day and lost the weight – but she’s a pig), Pam suggested that they retire from the show and open a restaurant in her hometown of Arroyo Grande, CA. And so they did. The first Klondike Pizza opened in 1988 and the second one opened in Santa Maria in 1996.
The rabbit fur bikini is on display in the Santa Maria location.
Hee, hee. Okay, okay, there’s just one more story, so it HAS to be the real one. Click here for the Actual Klondike Story.