July 9th was the 12th annual Okie Noodling Tournament, and my official induction as an Okie after almost 36 years here. Mercury reaching 109 didn't stop thousands from flocking to the park for a day-long festival for all ages. After passing the moon-bounce and Indian taco stands, we set up our shade tent and camp chairs for an afternoon of full-on, people-watching entertainment.
There was limitless entertainment when it came to apparel. The obvious choice was any combination of red-white-and-blue, camo, overalls, and questionable t-shirt screenprints. I was slightly disappointed in the lack of mullets and rat-tails, though there were a few (real and fake) spotted. Professional film crews were busy capturing the details for the unfortunate ones who are unable to attend in person.
I am proud to now be able to say that I've been noodling. Even though it was only in a large water tank in the back of a pickup, I still reached in the murky water and grabbed a HUGE catfish by his lower jaw and pulled him into the air. The Redneck Wars team that rightfully caught the fish in the river claim that he was about 25 pounds, but I swear he was at least 60.
|New friends are made over t's and teeth|
|Lil trophy for his lil catch|
Pauls Valley has come a long way since the first Noodling Tournament 12 years ago when just 50 people attended. This year, there were over 6,000 who sweated it out in Wacker Park. While the beer is abundant and the teeth few, it is a crazy and peaceful experience - unless you are a catfish. Needless to say, I'm "hooked".
|Winning catch weighing in at 60 whopping pounds!|