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'Dirty Jobs' comes to Basin; Television show shoots episode at Tulelake business

H&N photo by Lee Juillerat. Mike Rowe, host of Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs” show, signs a photo for Tristan Gann and other young fans in Tulelake.

by Lee Juillerat, Herald and News 10/29/08

TULELAKE — The host of the Discovery Channel’s popular “Dirty Jobs,” spent a day in Tulelake covered with down while slicing and tugging out duck innards, and filling down pillows and comforters.

With field producer Dave Barsky calling camera shots, host Mike Rowe worked with Mallard/Tule Goose Pillow Company owner Trudy Eastman Tuesday for an upcoming episode.

Known for getting dirty — he’s worked alongside septic-tank technicians, road-kill removal specialists and shark suit testers — Rowe found himself covered in goose and duck down — the soft, fine feathers used in clothing, pillows and comforters — while preparing birds freshly killed by waterfowl hunters.

“Dirt’s come to mean different things. This isn’t dirty in the classic wastewater sense,” he said after gutting, plucking and packing ducks and geese. “This is animal handling. Because so much of the handling happens with the animals’ insides, it qualifies.”

For those who haven’t seen the show, which premiered in 2003 and has aired nearly 200 installments, the ruggedly personable Rowe works alongside people who do necessary but sometimes hazardous, dangerous or simply disgusting jobs.

The show began as “Somebody’s Gotta Do It” in San Francisco before it was commissioned for The Discovery Channel.

“This is the dirty job of hunting,” Rowe said of Tuesday’s filming alongside Eastman’s crew. “Hunters get up early and go out in often miserable conditions but, when it comes down to it, getting the birds prepped as food, these guys do the dirty work.”

He was pleased with the shoot and believes the hour-long episode may be aired between January and March.

“It ranks really high for a couple of reasons,” Rowe said. “Trudy is so real, so genuine. Unaffected by the camera. Authentic. It’s hard to find these people in the big city.”

Filming was completed in about eight hours. It’s not unusual for shooting to last 12 or 14 hours, especially if working in mines or on boats at sea.

Rowe said he sees his job differently than his viewers.

“I don’t see myself as the host. A day like today I’m a guest. I’m curious, I’m a smart aleck and I do what they tell me,” he said. “The best ‘Dirty Jobs’ are the ones that highlight the jobs that need to get done that most people wouldn’t do.”
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