For some, standing out in the middle of the woods in Skamania County sounds like a nightmare come to life. To Cindy Wakefield, it was a dream come true. As a longtime watcher and fan of Animal Planet’s “Finding Bigfoot,” she was thrilled to be asked onto the show to go Squatching, or searching for Bigfoot itself.
“Finding Bigfoot” is a weekly reality show featuring a team of four experts, three of them Bigfoot researchers, Matt Moneymaker, Cliff Barackman and James “Bobo” Fay, with the fourth being a skeptical biologist, Ranae Holland, as they investigate evidence of the creature throughout the world.
“When I watched the show, I kept thinking that if they come to Grays Harbor, I had to meet them or just go Squatching with them,” she said. “I just kept thinking positive and when the opportunity arose, I thought ‘I gotta jump on this’ and I did.”
She contacted Tyler Bounds, a member of the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization through Facebook after hearing a vocalization of the creature he captured in Humptulips. They ended up going back and forth several times before she learned he was also a cameraman for her favorite show. Eventually, he invited her to be on their special, which featured four teams located in Washington and Oregon looking for Sasquatch evidence in competition with each other. She would be on the team of Holland while Moneymaker, president for the BFRO, formed the other Washington team.
“This is a bucket list kind of thing for me. So of course I got together with a friend from work to go on with me,” she said.
Sarah Eichenberger accompanied Wakefield, although she had never seen the show herself, she was impressed with how friendly everyone was regardless of how busy they were with putting the show together.
“Meeting Ranae and Matt wasn’t like meeting famous people, they were just regular people to me,” she said. “I didn’t have their TV personas on my mind so that was a lot less stressful.”
She considers herself a Sasquatch skeptic, but thinks there is a possibility there are things lurking all over people have yet to see. She said she had to jump on the chance to see behind-the-scenes of a TV show and experience Squatching.
The event also allowed the two women to help field test new products for their employer. Both Eichenberger and Wakefield work for GHUnders, a Grays Harbor based garment company that makes clothing, such as shirts, socks and shorts, to keep people warm in the cold. Being on the show was an opportunity to not only be on the program, but also a chance to test the new products. While the rest of the team bundled up from head to two, the two “GHUnders gals” wore two layers of their employer’s clothing.
“The clothing worked really well and we thankfully had several extras with us to give to people,” she said. “Matt ended up ordering three sets himself.”
Wakefield’s son, Kenny, a Hoquiam High School junior, also came along and wore GHUnders gear.
The large group was split into two teams, women with Holland and men, including Kenny, with Moneymaker. It was dark, save for the special, heat-seeking vision equipment they used and the lights from cameras.
Wakefield couldn’t give details about what they found, though she looks forward to see what ends up on the episode. She has now met three of the characters on her favorite show, Moneymaker and Holland at this taping and Barackman at last year’s Sasquatch Summit in Ocean Shores. Now she just has to meet Fay, who led a team in Oregon during the episode where Wakefield appears.
The episode, titled “1,2,3,4 I Declare a Squatch War” premieres on Animal Planet as a two-hour finale at 9 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 16.
For more info about the show, visit animalplanet.com/tv-shows/finding-bigfoot.
Alexandra Kocik: 360-537-3928 or firstname.lastname@example.org and @DW_AKocik on Twitter