When he’s not selling go-kits and “Prepper” supplies at Lincoln City Sporting Goods, famous survivalist Biko Wright, 33, is one of the most sought-after speakers at “skill gatherings” around the Northwest.
The survival workshops have become obligatory for many Americans worried about riots, tsunamis, wildfires and even WW III.
Wright returned from a recent gathering near Seattle where well-heeled tech workers and soccer moms in hiking boots paid up to $3,000 apiece to make fire, set a rabbit trap and create shelter from whatever was at hand.
“What really got this started was Covid,” remarked Biko, a burly ex-construction worker who lives in rural Otis with his fiancé and twin daughters in a home he built.
“People realized how vulnerable they were to civilizational collapse. What do you do when the lights go out and the highway’s shut down?”
Biko credits his fame to the wildly-popular History Channel reality show, “Alone,” where he was among 10 contestants pitted against the brutal wilderness challenges of remote Chilko Lake, British Columbia during Season 8.
Contestants are dropped in the middle of a wilderness area with no food, the clothes on their backs and 10 items of their choosing to survive for as long as they can.
At stake for the last person standing was $500,000. Some contestants tapped-out amid hallucinations and tears as they struggled for food and warmth. Biko, however, grew up near rugged Topanga Canyon, Calif., where he honed his outdoor skills by camping, backpacking, hunting, snorkeling and spearfishing. He also had a secret strategy to win: “Starvation can kill you, so I packed on 50 pounds!”
Biko lasted 73 days before producers pulled him out because of severe weight loss. Though 91 pounds thinner, he outlasted all other contestants except the eventual winner, Clay Hayes of Milton, Florida. It was worth it, he asserted.
“For one thing, I have a lot more appreciation for everything in life I really didn’t have before,” he said of the simple things he grew to miss. “I learned to push myself a lot farther.”
Biko enjoys his celebrity status at the well-stocked Lincoln City Sporting Goods (800 SE Hwy. 101, next to Burger King) where he dispenses freeze-dried rations, solar-powered radios, firearms, ammo and good advice on how to survive doomsday.