Filed Under:

Gator Wrestling: 'Not A Thinking Man's Sport'

Play associated audio

Standing in a pool full of 2-foot-long alligators, Jay Young starts teaching a class on gator wrestling.

"He who hesitates gets bit. Don't think about it," says Young, owner of Colorado Gators. "Alligator wrestling is not a thinking man's sport."

It takes a certain kind of crazy to want to pay $100 to handle animals sensible people run away from. People do sign up, however, ready to try their hands at this most extreme of sports.

The Rocky Mountain farm was originally a fish farm, founded by Young's parents in 1977. They chose the location because they could access geothermal water, the water that comes from the well is 87 degrees year-round.

"In 1987 ... we got our first alligators to be garbage disposals for the fish farm," Young says.

At first they just cleaned up fish carcasses. But over the years, the gators have gone from waste management to center stage. Word got out and an attraction was born.

"As soon as we opened up to the public and let people come in and start seeing our alligators, other people's pet alligators started showing up here," Young says. "We've literally come to work and found them on the doorstep."

Young has his students wading into water with increasingly large gators and showing them how to drag them around and pin them down.

"Injuries are few and far between. If you listen to the instructions, very few people get hurt — and most of them who do get hurt wear it with pride," he says. "I mean, it's a red badge of courage: 'I got a wound from an alligator.'"

The final lesson of the class: pinning down a 7-foot alligator. Amid the action, Young makes a joke about taking pictures for insurance purposes — they don't have insurance. It's hard to imagine who would insure this place.

By the time the lesson is over, at least one student is relieved the next alligator she'll see will be safely behind glass — on the Discovery Channel.

Copyright 2011 Colorado Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.cpr.org.

 

WAMU 88.5

It Takes A Nation: Art For Social Justice At The Katzen Arts Center

As the Minister of Culture for the Black Panther Party, graphic artist Emory Douglas created striking visual images for the movement's publications and posters.

NPR

How Arnold Palmer Hit A Hole-In-One With His Signature Drink

As we mourn the golf great, we acknowledge another contribution he made to our culture: the tasty and refreshing iced tea and lemonade beverage that carries his name.
WAMU 88.5

It Takes A Nation: Art For Social Justice At The Katzen Arts Center

As the Minister of Culture for the Black Panther Party, graphic artist Emory Douglas created striking visual images for the movement's publications and posters.

NPR

Live Fact Check: Trump And Clinton Debate For The First Time

NPR reporters and editors are live annotating Monday night's debate. Read the latest fact check, analysis and context here.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.