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Alligator wrestling has been a big part of Seminole culture, and a popular sport, until the 1990s. Now, Seminole entrepreneurs hope to bring it back to its former glory, and make a fortune, in the process.

The Seminole Indians have come a long way, from living and hunting in swamp areas, to owning the Hard Rock chain of restaurants and hotels. Now they’re getting involved in a business venture closely tied to their native culture: alligator wrestling.

Richard Bowers, president of the Seminole Indian tribe of south Florida, says alligator wrestling has immense growth potential as long as there’s always going to be a part of the population who will want to see blood sports. And it doesn’t get much bloodier than going toe to toe with a reptile that could turn a human limb from limb.

Alligator wrestlers have ten minutes to get the alligator out of its water-hole, somehow drag it to dry land, where each shows off a series of tricks, like kissing the gators or placing their heads and hands between the reptiles’ jaws. The prize money for this sort of competition adds up to around $10,000.

Men with sticks watch vigilantly, in case one of the competitors is caught in a dreaded “death-roll”, by the alligators, but spectators are advised to just sit down and watch the carnage, in case anything goes wrong. After all, if an alligator wrestler gets bitten, there’s not much anyone else can do to help.

Pictures: ALEX QUESADA via TimesOnline

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