"They'll kill you in a second," says Bailey, chief alligator wrestler at the Seminole Okalee Indian Village and Museum in Hollywood, Florida. "if you're lucky, they'll just tear your fingers off."
For $12 an hour-plus health benefits--Bailey wades into a pool, grabs an 8-foot, 220-pound alligator by the tail, and strains to pin it on the sand while tourists watch in awe. The Seminole have a long tradition of wrestling alligators-they used to capture them and keep them for food-and the Village charges $5 a head for four shows a day.
But now, the Seminole say, there is a shortage of young people in the tribe who want to go into that line of work. So the Seminole have taken to advertising outside the tribe: "WANTED: Alligator wrestlers. Must be brave and a risk taker. Males and females OK. No experience needed."
To date, only a few people have applied.
"Ain't very many of them going to have a chance of getting a job," says Bailey. "Most of them just weren't any good."
And, as he says, there's no such thing as a bad alligator wrestler.
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|Title Annotation:||Mike Bailey, alligator wrestler with Seminole Okalee Indian Village and Museum in Florida|
|Publication:||New York Times Upfront|
|Article Type:||Brief Article|
|Date:||Dec 11, 2000|
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|Next Article:||THE FINAL MOVES.|