A small Alaska town wants a big bronze Riker

Now that definitely would be an encounter at far point

Riverside, Iowa, self-proclaimed hometown of Star Trek's Captain James T. Kirk, has a erected a statue of their fictional hero, and Captain Kathryn Janeway has one in her future birthplace Bloomington, Indiana, as well.

Vulcan, Canada, hosts a monument to famous not-so-local-Vulcan Spock, and now, if a group of enterprising Star Trek fanatics have their way, Valdez, Alaska, will soon be home to another Trekkie landmark.

Valdez, a small town in the south of the US state, is home to about 4,000 people. In Star Trek mythology, it is the (future) birthplace of William T. Riker, born in 2335 to become Starfleet commander and first officer of the fifth USS Enterprise. Valdez native and Trek podcaster, Cameron Harrison, wants his hometown hero honored in bronze. 

"Learning that one of the most beloved characters from Star Trek would be born [in Valdez] was just really cool and I've been dreaming of honoring that legacy for 20 years," Harrison told The Register. "That there's a connection between 'The Last Frontier' and 'The Final Frontier' is worth memorializing." 

Harrison, along with fellow Alaskan-native trekkies Patrick Campaign and Jessie Desmond, started a group called Riker Maneuver, in homage to the infamous way Riker actor Jonathan Frakes would raise his leg over chairs to sit on the set of Star Trek: The Next Generation, to lead their effort to make the statue reality. 

A statue, of course, with its leg up on a sci-fi inspired bench posed with plenty of Will Riker panache.


A mockup of a proposed statue of Star Trek's Commander William Riker to be built in his hometown of Valdez, AK - Click to enlarge

Riker Maneuver isn't just a pipedream, and has even been given the blessing of Star Trek IP holder Paramount, who said it'll work with Frakes to get approval for use of his likeness if the team gets Valdez's approval. After having an initial meeting with city officials in December, Harrison tells us he's confident. 

"I'm quite hopeful that the project will cross the finish line," Harrison told us. "Ken Wilson, the director [of Valdez] Parks & Rec, is quite interested and feels like it will be an easy sell." 

As to whether Harrison thinks other Valdez locals will want a life-size bronze statue of Commander William Riker in Ruth Pond Park, he says the folks he's spoken with haven't been anything but excited. 

"I've been gobsmacked to find out just how many Star Trek fans are out there...especially when they hear that a big pop culture icon from one of the biggest franchises in the world has origins in our humble town," Harrison told us. 

With the city in possession of a full plan for the statue and a local artist committed to build it if approved, it's now in the hands of Valdez's various committees to sign off on the statue and a public comment period to hear out any objections. After that comes finding the money to build the thing, which Harrison told us Riker Maneuver plans to crowdfund. 

"So far the reception we've heard from people has me feeling like that won't be a problem," Harrison said. 

The number of US cities able to lay claim to a leading Star Trek character is rapidly dwindling. Other locales up for a statue include Mojave, California, home to pre-Kirk Enterprise Captain Christopher Pike; San Francisco, home to Enterprise helmsman Hikaru Sulu; and Panama City, Florida, birthplace of Enterprise (NX-01) chief engineer Charles "Trip" Tucker. ®

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