Gator Wrestling: 'Not A Thinking Man's Sport' | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
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

Key Civil War Generals The Subject Of New Smithsonian Exhibit

A new exhibit at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery focuses on Civil War generals Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee.
NPR

Is Foster Farms A Food Safety Pioneer Or A Persistent Offender?

The California chicken producer has been dogged by food safety problems at its plants for months. But Foster Farms may also now be one of the country's cleanest, safest sources of chicken products.
NPR

Congress Has The Ability To Fix Immigration Crisis, Obama Says

His remarks in Dallas followed a meeting with faith leaders and local officials, including Gov. Rick Perry, to discuss the large number of unaccompanied minors at the border.
NPR

What Burritos And Sandwiches Can Teach Us About Innovation

Is a burrito a sandwich? The answer may sound simple to you ... but the question gets at the very heart of a tension that's existed for ages.

Leave a Comment

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