Denveater Blogs from Okie Noodling Tournament

Still longing for news from Oklahoma as I do? I’m hearing from all ya’ll, “More, more, more!” Well, I won’t disappoint. Or should I say my pal Denveater won’t disappoint. She’s blogging from the Okie Noodling Tournament (we will let the term “Okie” ride for just now) and I’m scraping her content — well part of her content. To understand my Oklahomies is to understand noodling, local music, and most of all people because community is king. The noodling tourney epitomizes the very sort of thing that I’ve always admired about my home state, when populist ideals seep up from the iron-rich dirt.

Go to her blog to read her full posts, because Denveater tells it best:

First she posted this:

Like megamesmerizers The Flaming Lips, like notorious Normanite & owner of great gourmet shop Forward Foods’ Wampus, like doc-directing dynamo Bradley Beesley & spell-casting yarn-spinner

Phil Henderson—

fisheries biologist & proprietor for the past 3 decades plus of the beloved 76-year-old BBQ pitstop Bob’s Pig Shop—I grew up in the Sooner State.

(So did I! Oklahoma! Oklahoma! Oklahoma!)

Then she posted this:

Horse***Over the course of the next few days I’ll spill all the half-baked beans I happily gathered at the 10th Annual Okie Noodling Tournament in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma, while hanging with an array of insiders whom I’d now count among the coolest, kindest, oldest souls a person can be lucky enough to encounter all at once.***

Let’s get a few things straight:

Noodling, also called grabbling, is fishing for catfish with your hands, or, in some cases, feet—essentially grabbing hold of them from the inside by letting them clamp down on your arms & legs, risking digits in the process, & then wresting them loose from the riverbed nooks & crannies they occupy.

It’s legal in a handful of states, including Oklahoma, where flathead catfish are the favored catch (& excluding Missouri, whose die-hard noodlers do it on the down-low while grappling with local lawmakers to get the papers pushed).

The tournament is held one day every July in the parking lot of Bob’s Pig Shop, a venerable BBQ joint & de facto antique showcase of curios I’ve only begun profiling here.

(Handsome Hubster and I have logged many dinners at the Pig Shop.)

And most recently, this:

***Part 2 of a miniseries about the kaleidoscope of scoundrels, souses, smartasses, shit-kickers, schookids, septuagenarians, flathead catfish & barbecued pigs that is the Okie Noodling Tournament in Paul’s Valley, OK; see Part 1 here.***

To have even heard of noodling is to know Lee McFarlin. To look “noodling” up on Wikipedia is to see his picture. To Google “noodling” & “Gordon Ramsay” is to catch a slide show of the respective stars of Okie Noodling & “Hell’s Kitchen” gurgling à deux amid the red swirls of an Oklahoma fishing hole. To scan article after article on noodling on the New York Times & ESPN websites is to learn of his legend.(Uhm… I enjoyed the doc and could enjoy the tourney, but I have not, nor would I attempt, noodling. Just FYI.)

Thanks Ruth for the awesome posts. I wish I could be with you to be crowned queen, enjoy the exfoliating back rub, and hang out in walk-in freezers.

One thought on “Denveater Blogs from Okie Noodling Tournament

  1. Tracy says:

    Noodling is waaaay cooler than Dollywood.
    True dat.

    See ya this weekend! We need to go by a feed store to pick out a cattleprod, unless of course, you are bringing one from the land of skinny sheep….

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