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Americans sought to compete on Norwegian reality show

The program "Alt For Norge" -- "Everything for Norway" -- gradually eliminated contestants through a series of physical, cultural and culinary endurance tests.

"The Great Norway Adventure," an uffda-accented TV show that blended "Survivor" and "The Amazing Race" with goat cheese, herring and swimming in fjords, did so well in its debut last year -- it was Norway's top-rated reality series -- that the producers are going to do it again.

They've put out another casting call, looking for "fun, outgoing Americans with Norwegian ancestry" to compete in "a series of extreme cultural challenges that test their skills, courage and determination."

There has to be a barrel of lutefisk in there somewhere.

But while season one had 10 Norwegian-Americans facing such trials as crossing frozen tundra on skis and feasting on a sheep's head, organizers said the highlight was watching cast members discover something about their ancestry.

Over there, the program is called "Alt For Norge" -- "Everything for Norway" -- and gradually eliminated contestants through a series of physical, cultural and culinary endurance tests.

Doug Miner, a Seattle resident who won the $50,000 first prize last year, called his time in Norway "by far the coolest experience ever," highlighted by meeting relatives he didn't know he had.

At the series conclusion, he was flown by helicopter to the old family haunts, where more than 60 relatives waited to welcome him home.

"It was so amazing that I'm taking my mom, dad and (other) family members to meet them in Norway next year," he said, according to a news release about the program.

At least one Grand Forks-area person with Norwegian roots responded to last year's casting call and made it through early rounds before failing to make the finals.

Cindy Dahl, an eligibility worker at Grand Forks County Social Services, was ready to pack the trunk her grandmother Ronag brought to America early last century and take it back to Norway.

Dahl's maternal grandfather, Peder Lorenson, also came to America from Norway, leaving home with his parents.

While she didn't get to participate in the competition, the application got her thinking more about her ancestry. She joined the local Sons of Norway Lodge and started taking Norwegian language lessons. She also has tried the distinctive Norwegian art of rosemaling, the flowery painting that decorated her grandmother's sea trunk.

Applicants need only partial Norwegian ancestry -- "even a little bit counts," organizers say -- but must not have traveled to Norway before. The age range for applicants is 18 to 60, and the application deadline (with a video) is Jan. 10, 2011.