July 9, 2006 — -- Kyle MacDonald's goal was simple -- to trade one red paper clip all the way up to a house.
The 26-year-old Canadian began his quest almost a year ago. He had no job, but he had the paper clip and a Web site.
"It went from a hobby, where I played it on a whim, to the point where thousands of people were showing up on a Web site," MacDonald said.
They were showing up and, almost immediately, MacDonald was trading up, beginning with two women from Vancouver offering a fish pen. It may sound fishy, but it's not.
"Trade one red paper clip for one fish pen," MacDonald said, "for one door knob, for one camping stove, for one generator, for one instant party, for one snowmobile, for one trip to Yahk [in British Columbia, Canada], for one cube van, for one recording contract, for one year of rent in Phoenix, for an afternoon with Alice Cooper."
Rocker Alice Cooper?
"That was the most bizarre moment of this entire project -- was standing on stage with Alice Cooper in Fargo, N.D., with a giant, red paper clip," MacDonald said.
He traded the rest of his time with Cooper for a snow globe. And his followers thought that would be it and it would all end there -- without a house.
But no. Enter actor Corbin Bernsen, an avid snow globe collector, who wanted MacDonald's snow globe and offered a paid role in his new movie in exchange. The people of Kipling, Saskatchewan, Canada, wanted the movie role. Their offer? Finally, the house.
"When I got this offer it was just-- It was mind-blowing," MacDonald said. "I've never lived in Saskatchewan, and I've never been to Kipling."
But he'll be there later this week. The Mayor's office tells ABC it's for real and they're going to hold auditions for that movie role.
But the true star? Well, he's just relieved it's almost over:
"It's a real relief, because I've been frantically worried that I won't pull this off," MacDonald said, "and I'd be a bit of a schmuck if I didn't trade a red paper clip for a house."