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Gator Country holds 7th annual Kids Gator Rescue Tournament - 12 News KBMT and K-JAC. News, Weather and Sports for SE Texas

Gator Country holds 7th annual Kids Gator Rescue Tournament

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"Big Al" "Big Al"
BEAUMONT -

8-year-old Trent Savage had a hard time finding the elusive alligator he was trying to catch in a muddy pond on Saturday.

"When gators go underwater it's really hard to see 'em," Trent said.

With time running out, he finally got him. His technique?
     
"Try to find the gator's tail and then find the body so I could lift him up."

Trent's parents brought him to Beaumont from Houston to take part in Gator Country's 7th annual Kids Gator Rescue Tournament.

"It's just something that's really fun to be able to watch the kids do because they'd never get to do this anywhere else," said Trent's mom Cindy. 

"(The kids) reach under the muddy water and the alligator moves, to watch their reaction is really special," said Gator Country owner Gary Saurage.

The kids tournament is Saurage's favorite time of the year.

"We're really busy at what we do... but this is the day we slow things down and just let the kids play," he said.

Kids in different age groups competed to see who was fastest at catching gators in a pool, a muddy pond filled with rubber tires, and a culvert. The bigger the kid, the bigger the gator. The kids who won in their respective age groups received prize money from the admission everyone paid to enter the tournament.

Just to be safe, all the gators had their mouths taped shut.
     
At 4 p.m., the largest alligator in captivity in the state of Texas, "Big Al" was brought out. 
Big Al is 13 feet 4 inches long, weighs half a ton, and is 80 years old. Visitors were able to take photos with him next to another enormous alligator named "Kong".

"(Big Al) is just a very special animal," said Saurage. "To be this close to this animal, you'll probably never do that again in your life."

 

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