Oprah Flies In 20 Alaskan Men Hunting For BridesMARIO FOX , Associated Press
Feb. 17, 1989 8:22 PM ET
CHICAGO (AP) _ Twenty Alaskan bachelors were greeted with enthusiastic sighs and applause from an audience of 180 Midwestern women Friday in a bit of televised matchmaking courtesy of talk show host Oprah Winfrey.
Winfrey said she flew the men, ages 19 to 61, to Chicago to help them find brides. In parts of Alaska, she said, the ratio of men to women is 35-to-1.
And the men - most from the Anchorage area - got warm welcomes. Some women didn't even wait for them to get to the television studio but lined up to meet them at the airport.
As they were introduced on Winfrey's syndicated show, the men described the kind of mates they were seeking.
''I'm want a woman who's not afraid to run naked in the woods,'' John Ketchum, 23, told the audience.
Bill Park, 32, was a little more practical.
''I'd love to find a woman who loves the great outdoors and has her own fishing boat,'' he said.
''There are pretty women in Alaska but there just aren't enough of them,'' Dev Galloway, 30.
Winfrey's staff found the bachelors through AlaskaMen, a magazine founded by Susie Carter, an Alaskan woman who said she started the publication because she runs a day-care center and single fathers asked her to fix them up with dates.
''People say we're exploiting the men, but the men tell me: 'Please exploit us,''' Ms. Carter said.
Later, the bachelors picked luncheon dates from the audience by asking questions about the women's likes and dislikes. And they left some broken hearts.
''I felt humiliated,'' said Lisa Kehoe, of Chicago. ''It was like a meatmarket.''
Others complained that a group of models from the Chicago Auto Show had an unfair advantage over the rest of the audience.
''I don't mean to be bitter because I wasn't picked, but I hated it,'' said Ms. Kehoe.
''It made us look like we're desperate,'' said Laura Karabat of Cincinnati, in town for a health-care convention.
Winfrey called the criticism embarrassing. But Alice McGee, a spokeswoman for her show, said she heard few complaints.
''Many called to get the addresses of the guys on the show,'' McGee said. She also reported some romantic sparks during lunch between the Alaskans and their Midwest dates.
One audience member, Betsy Lacais, 38, said that while the men were handsome, she wasn't ready for a life in Alaska.
''I'll come back when the guests are from Tahiti. I like the climate there better,'' she told Winfrey.