Sunday, September 6, 2009

Later Gator!

Yesterday, it occurred to me that we are not your typical family. While most enjoy Labor day weekend sleeping in, grilling hot dogs, and watching football, we were rushing around at 5 o'clock in the morning trying our hardest to be on time for Larry's important class: Gator wrestling.

Yes. Gator as in ALLIGATOR.
Colorado Gator's is a working farm filled with all sorts of animals. From ostriches, donkeys, goats, sheep, to rattlesnakes, pythons, bearded dragons, and of course...gators.

The farm originally was intended for the tilapia farm that it was and still is today. The fact that it is now a gator farm is by accident: the gators started out being a "fish disposal" for the bad tilapia they had. Now, after years of rescuing alligators and other reptiles from careless pet owners, the gator farm is not only a tilipia farm, but also an alligator reserve.

Upon entering the gator farm, tourists can be led to believe they have stepped into a theme park based off of a Louisianan Crocodile Dundee. Deceased gators skins are everywhere and the men working there have a similar resemblance to this 80's hero. Along with this awesome decor were pictures of other crazy individuals riding on alligators backs, one of the famous youtube girl that had gotten bitten in the face while there, and pictures of men that had actually lost their fingers by these gators because of carelessness.

As crazy as this gator wrestling class is, we actually were not the only ones insane. Three other guys, all jumpy with nerves, were there just to take this class.

This was their instructor, Jay.

The only way I can describe Jay is by likening him to a Tarzan raised by gators. He lives and breathes gators.

Not only did we get to witness this man surf a 600lb gator, but while the wrestling students and wives stood behind a 6ft wire fence, examining a batch of gators the guys had to wrangle next, Jay flung his body completely over the fence, landed on a gator's back, held onto it while being drug 10ft and completely submerged in the alligator infested water, tied a rope around the gators neck, then stood up a declared, "That's the best way to do it. You have to ambush them before they know your there." Though he comes off at first as careless, he has great respect for these gators of his. He quietly admitted that the first time he was bit by a gator was when he was 5 years old!

This guy is crazy but in a very respectful kind of way. The only reason he lets others do this wrestling class is not for all fun, but alot of it is actually to help him catch and medically treat these animals.

While there, we actually were able to witness a gator that needed surgery to remove a cyst. It was surreal, crazy, and disgusting to witness it, but Larry loved it!
I love my husband. I love the fact that I have never seen him so nervous while on our way to Gator farm. I love that out of all the big guys wrestling, he was always the first one to volunteer to catch a gator. I love that while I cringed and walked away for all of the medical procedures, he was happily sitting on the gator's back, watching intensely. I love that while all of the other guys screamed the first time they pick up their gators, he just bent over and picked one up.

The boys all start out with small 3 ft. long gators, a 100lb alligator snapping turtle,
and then worked their way up to a 600lb/ 11-12ft long gator rightly name, Kamikaze. I will never be able to get over the heartpounding realization that my husband was wrangling a gator that was three times his size!

While one would think this excursion would be a once-in-a-life-time thing, Larry is already planning to go back. Because of the fact that these men were some of the few to actually wrestle Kamikaze, they were told that come next August they were more than welcomed to be the wranglers for 2010's Gator Fest: a gator-like rodeo where men (and occasionally women) will compete to see who can catch the largest, as well as the most, gators. I have never seen Larry smile so big.

For other videos of Larry's excursion, click on this link and then you should be able to look up our other videos from this one!


farmmutt said...

This is the craziest/coolest thing I've ever heard! Where is this Gator farm?

Susan Jones said...

That is so awwwwwwssome! We are so excited for you. But Micke got to be the first in the family to kiss an alligator. So he still Wins!!! Love you loads!

The Eliason Family said...

Why, Larry, why??? Looks like a fun day! Definitely a journal entry! Way to wrestle those gators!

Red said...

I love that you are just now realizing that your family is not "normal"

jen said...
Colorado gators is in Mosca, Co. The website says Alamosa, but I think they put that because that is the largest town closest to them.

I don't think larry even attempted to kiss one of these, so yes, Mike does win!

Maybe it's not a "just now" realization, more like a nice refresher.

Katie Clifford said...

that is just plain awesome! you guys crack me up with all the cool things you are always up to! Way to go Larry! Now I know who to take with me if I ever go to the swamp!!

Abby O! said...

Oh. My. Gosh. Why does it seem that I keep saying that? Oh yeah, because you three are the most amazing people I know and I wish we lived closer so we could be friends and I could've been there live and in color! Oh snap, you're crazy Lar but I love you!

Scanlon Family said...

Awesome! Jason is so excited to see these when he gets home from work! I love being related to not the norm sort of people. It makes me cool by association-right?

greg said...

Larry... I'd never thought of you as a particularly ...brave man. Way to go!