For the few hundred hunters who showed up Saturday for day one of the 2013 Python Challenge, it was a day of high excitement and little payoff, at least according to the numbers beamed out of the Glades on Saturday night.
The kickoff party -- and really the good-time atmosphere fits the description -- got rolling around 9:30 a.m. at the University of Florida's Research and Education Center in Davie. About 800 participants signed up, and hundreds of hunters were on hand at the building for a quick registration session.
- 2013 Python Challenge: Few Reptiles, Many TV Crews
What the get-together really provided was an open meat market of possible interviews for the visiting media, many coming long distance. The Associated Press, Fox News, ABC, CNN, Univision, the Times of London, the Irish Times, Getty Images, the whole alphabet soup of local affiliates -- all reportedly had people on the ground, not to mention squads of freelancers and independents.
Unfortunately, after day one, we media types were left without the sanguinary story we'd been looking for.
That's not to say the event was total bust -- it wasn't. In terms of character studies, there have been few opportunities in the History of News to match -- a state's entire lineup of crazies was packed into a single geographic area. Throw booze and weaponry into that mix and you've got journalism.
It was just a little bit of a letdown there wasn't any reptile carnage on Saturday. New Times was there as well, and we expected some hulking he-man to come up out of the swamp with a slaughtered 18-footer draped over his shoulders. At least one he-man.
No dice. But there have been subsequent developments.
By Saturday night, the state had yet to report any snake kills. Throughout Sunday, the radio silence continued. Then, on Monday at 4 p.m., the state announced that 11 Burmese pythons had been turned over as part of the challenge since the contest went go.
We'll keep you posted as the bodies keep rolling in. You can also catch our report from the front lines in this week's dead-tree edition.