North Country Welding may be featured on television show
BESSEMER - Two local welders may get a shot at being on national T.V.
Employees of Lucky Dog Films, a television and video production company, are eyeing up Skeeter Winkowski and Jake Armata, of North Country Welding and Docks, in Bessemer, for a new television show to focus on repairs and fixing "odd objects and big projects."
"What happens is, they're going to come here next week and they're going to film for four days," Armata said. "They'll present it to other networks and the networks will buy (however) many episodes."
According to the production company's website, shows produced by Lucky Dog's executive producers have been featured on a number of networks, such as The Discovery Channel, TLC, Science Channel, Military Channel, Smithsonian, Bravo, Spike, The History Channel and National Geographic.
Winkowski said the pair was approached by Dave Nyquist, of the Western U.P. Visitors and Convention Bureau, after Nyquist was contacted by members of Lucky Dog.
Winkowski and Armata said they had competed for about a month and a half with four other shops in the U.P. for the spotlight shot.
The two welders also said Lucky Dog told them a network has viewed material already submitted and is interested in the project, but they weren't sure which network it is.
Winkowski has about 30 years of experience and Armata has been welding for seven or eight years. Over that time they have completed a variety of projects.
"We don't kick too many people out," Winkowski said.
Sometimes they go the extra "half-mile" to serve customers, such as a recent job that involved a custom dock and a rather unique installation.
"The only way of getting it to the customer's house was to float it across a lake," Armata said. "We mounted a trolling motor on the dock and we rode it about a half-mile."
But the work doesn't just involve navigating a dock across a lake. Sometimes it's a little higher off the water.
"One of the most dangerous ones I've had was up in Bayfield, (Wis.). I still have nightmares," Winkowski said. "It was up off of a 40-foot cliff, we had to put a staircase down and you stood on the staircase and you could overlook the Apostle Islands."
A crew from Lucky Dog is coming to meet Armata and Winkowski face-to-face next week, and is looking to host a "welding clinic" where the welders will make repairs to various items brought in by the public.
A release from Lucky Dog states, the items, both big and small, could be farm equipment, snowmobiles, saunas, or other things with a U.P. feel to them.
People interested in having objects and projects worked on during the videotaped clinic are asked to send a picture of the item, a description of the job and contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
"It hasn't really sunk too far in yet," Winkowski said of the whole experience, mentioning that friends have asked him what's going on with the project.
"I told them (and) they say, 'Yeah right,'" he said. "They'll just say, 'Yeah right.' They don't believe me (and) I can't really either."