'Dirty Jobs' makes stop in Michigan

Angela Kipling

The dirty job of working on the Soo Locks is the latest career choice to be featured on the Emmy-nominated show “Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe.”

The creator, executive producer and host, Mike Rowe and crew arrived Tuesday and spent Wednesday filming at the locks.

The arrival of the Discovery Channel star has set Sault Ste. Marie abuzz.

In an impromptu press conference held at the Locks, Rowe admitted he didn’t really know exactly what his “dirty job” would entail at the locks, but he seemed confident in whatever the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers might throw at him.

Rowe commented that with most of the jobs seen on the show, he usually has no idea what he is or may be doing.

For the past five years, “Dirty Jobs” has featured almost every kind of job — from road kill collector to field tester for “shark suits.”

Around this area, his most famous show might be the “Mackinac Bridge, light changer.” When asked, Rowe said he had suggested the idea as a joke — never dreaming they would actually let him do it.

However, as many viewers witnessed, he did, in fact, scale the Mighty Mac to the very top and switched out a burnt-out bulb. Some may also remember his segment as an “Island Horse Keeper,” shoveling horse manure off Mackinac Island streets.

Rowe’s pre-"Dirty Jobs" resume included everything from Baltimore Opera singer to QVC host selling merchandise. His show about the some of the grossest jobs in America has proven popular, just passing the 200th episode mark well into it’s fifth season on the Discovery Channel.

While it seems like there just isn’t anything this man won’t do, he did indicate that there are some things that give him pause.

When asked about the worst, dirtiest job he has participated in, Rowe described “anything with poo or that will scare the heck out of you” jobs — for example, changing a lift pump out of a waste station or testing that shark suit.

The ultimate apprentice, Rowe is a true master of some of the nastiest career choices around, but he maintains the real stars of the show are always the men and women who do these jobs every day.

He strives to make every “guest” feel comfortable and only wants the focus to be on the hard-working Americans who, far too often, get over looked. The shift in this country toward jobs that focus less on the product being produced is exactly the ones that he wants to show viewers at home. Where would we be without someone making sure the electricity stays on, that our toilets flush or that garbage is removed?

“All our show ideas come from the viewers,” Rowe said.

Rowe was quick to point out that he doesn’t do it alone. The crew that travels with him and films him going from one dirty job to the next have also become a part of the show. Unlike most shows with perfect lighting and script, everything is unscripted and you can often view him talking to the crew behind the camera.

The show also helps feature small towns and communities across the country.

Rowe seemed to genuinely realize how important the show coming to a small town like Sault Ste. Marie is for the members of the community. Places that are out of the way and very far away from Hollywood seem to have started off as a tough sell for a television program, but the popularity of the show has sent a message that what viewers want to see are real people: real people doing the unthinkable.

Sault Ste. Marie Evening News