Colorado: Home of scenic mountains, endless craft beer and … alligator wrestling? |

Colorado: Home of scenic mountains, endless craft beer and … alligator wrestling?

Allyson Reedy, Special to The Denver Post

MOSCA — This is the unlikely story of how Colorado became one of the few places where a novice can wrestle alligators. It involves tilapia carcasses, illegal pets and lost appendages.

There’s a lot to unpack, so let’s start here, with the cast of characters at Mosca’s Colorado Gators Reptile Park.

To put it in the universal animal park language we all now speak, if the Mosca alligator park and rescue was “Tiger King,” Jay Young would be Joe Exotic, minus the attempted murder for hire charge, flamboyance and mullet. He grew up with the gators and has worked there since 1996, when he left engineering school at Colorado State University to help his dad run the place.

Conner Mather leads many of the park’s gator wrestling classes and helps with caring for the 250 alligators, including the biggest, Bruce (at 12 ½ feet and 900 pounds), and the meanest, Ornery and Foxy. (We’ll get to how Foxy got her name in a minute. It’s not because she’s a sexy gator.)

But first the wrestling class, which is why I drove four hours south to the shadows of the Great Sand Dunes where the Colorado Gators Reptile Park creeps over 80 acres. It seemed novel — not only that alligators would reside here in our state, but also that the public could go and wrestle them. I like weird, quirky things, and so I figured, without giving it much thought at all, that I would go wrestle some gators. Admittedly, I didn’t think it through.

Support Local Journalism

Read more via The Denver Post.

Support Local Journalism