By Kim Lemmon
I don’t like extreme heat or humidity, I hate bugs, and I’m not a fan of snakes either. If I ever actually visit the swamps of Louisiana and take a ride through the swamp in a boat, I will probably become motion sick so I doubt I’ll ever actually visit the swamp.
Regardless of my fears and shortcomings, every Thursday evening in February and March when I watch the “King of the Swamp” on “Swamp People” on the History Channel, I feel like I’m in the swamp as I watch my favorite alligator hunters catch gators during the month long-season in Louisiana.
When I helped Dale Minyo give a pizza party to the Logan Elm FFA chapter for winning our video contest, some members of the chapter happened to mention that some stars of “Swamp People” were coming to Ohio. They weren’t sure of the details, but a quick Internet search helped me hunt down “King of the Swamp” Troy Landry and his son Jacob as they made a brief stop on Feb. 16 at a sportsmen’s store in Reynoldsburg.
I wasn’t going to miss my chance to meet the “King of the Swamp” so I grabbed my Swamp People t-shirt and some cameras and headed south to see the guys. I was pretty excited to meet these colorful, yet polite, and hardworking men.
I had to wait in line to meet the Landrys but that wasn’t a problem. There was plenty to watch. Troy and Jacob were greeted by a large crowded that shouted “choot ‘em” as they made their way to the table where they would be signing autographs.
You probably have to understand from watching the program that, when an alligator is caught, Troy handles the fishing line attached to the live alligator and always hollers “choot ’em” to his fishing partner when he has positioned the gator for a clean kill shot. Watching Troy wrestle with a huge live gator on the end of a fishing line with his bare hands as he yells, “choot ’em” is a highlight of the show.
These men of the swamp took the time to shake hands, sign autographs and pose for photos. They seemed like genuinely nice guys. They granted every request; even one that had Jacob putting his gator boot shod foot up on the table so a group could have their photo taken with him and his boot.
I was pretty excited when it was my turn. I had been waiting for a couple of hours and I was already impressed by the guys. We were only able to spend about 30 seconds with them, but I made mine count.
I shook both of their hands. When Troy said, “How you doin’ today?” I may have said, “I’m EXCITED.” I may have yelled, “CHOOT ‘EM” at him and I might have even put my arm a little tighter than was necessary around Troy as we posed for the photo. You can see him laughing in the photo. I’ll never admit to any of the above. It was a moment between Troy and I.
My husband, Mark, was so overwhelmed by the brevity of the incident that he smiled (as instructed) but forgot to not blink. He apologizes for his eyes being closed in the photo.
We had a great time. The guys were accommodating and respectful to everyone that showed up to see them. There wasn’t time to ask any questions, so some questions do remain.
Most importantly, how often does Troy wash his lucky shirt? For the sake of his family and friends, I hope it is daily, as he is never seen without it during gator season. I was happy to see that he had left it at home for his visit to Ohio.
Second, how do they keep their hands so soft? I was expecting to shake hands that were rough and calloused and beat to pieces from handling alligators and the fishing lines connected to the alligators without gloves. Their hands take a beating during gator season. I was amazed to shake their hands and find that their hands may not have been baby soft, but they weren’t any rougher than my own.
Whether or not this reality television series is actually a perfect replica of actual life in the swamp, I enjoy the show and I enjoyed meet Troy and Jacob.
Anytime the Landry’s need any extra “man” in the boat, I’ll be tempted to pack my sunscreen, bug spray, “choot ‘em” t-shirt, and motion sickness medicine and head to Louisiana to help them. I’m a little accident-prone so hopefully they’ll have a first aid kit on board too. On second thought, maybe I am better off just enjoying the show from my couch.
Thanks for coming to Ohio guys! I’ll be waiting for my invitation to the swamp.