Thursday 17 June 2010

9-year-old girl who wrestles alligators

Fred Attewill

At the age of nine, most girls are happy playing with dolls or watching their High School Musical DVDs. But, for alligator wrestler Samantha Young, nothing passes the time like grappling with a 2.4m (8ft) reptilian killing machine.

And it is a good job the tough tween is so skilled at beating the fearsome beasts – as her family shares its farm with about 350 of them.

‘I have been wrestling alligators since I was six,’ she said. ‘I was taught by my father and mother to take on the gators and my dad has been wrestling and around them since he was bitten by one aged five.

‘I was a bit scared at first but my dad was there and he always knows what to do with them.’

Samantha regularly teaches visitors to Colorado Gators Reptile Park how to tackle the predators and has even trained US soldiers in the art.

‘It is all about getting your balance and position on top of the gator’s back so that you can control its mouth and neck,’ she said.

‘Once you have that under your power, then you can pull its head back and you have tamed the gator.

‘I need to know how to wrestle them because they are all around me so it is safer that way. And it looks cool for when my friends come round to the park. I like the looks on adults’ faces when they see me do it and I show them how.’

Father and park manager Jay Young, 36, said: ‘Samantha is very proficient with the gators and wrestles the size of alligator that we involve the public with.

‘We don’t let the public near the 600lb gators but we do let them tackle the 6ft to 8ft, 300lb ones.’

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