In 2002, Arizona’s favorite Cajun Cowboy’s (Rosie and Romey), saw a chance to have fun and provide a community service as well. Crawfish, a favorite Cajun delicacy, had overtaken the Arizona waterways wreaking havoc on our delicate ecosystem. Rosie and Romey decided it would be fun to teach Arizona residents how to catch, prepare and eat crawfish- after all what better family entertainment is there than crawfishing? The kids love it as it is a lot easier and has faster results than fishing and they can play along the banks while they wait for their traps to fill.
The tricky part of their idea was that no one is allowed to transport crawfish so they need to be captured and prepared on the spot. No problem! They mentioned on air that they would be at Woods Canyon Lake on a late summer Saturday in August. They figured a few people would show up to share in the experience. The week before the event, Romey and several local angler groups headed up and began to trap. Over the course of the week there were four hundred pounds of crawfish trapped and kept alive in large metal troughs.
What happened on the day of the event caught everyone by surprise! More than a few people came out to see the guys and have a little fun (about 1200!). Included in this entourage, decked out in their scuba diving gear, were a couple of fans determined to help the process by showing everyone where the crawfish were. A thunderstorm closed in as Romey and his brother-in-law, Wayne were paddling in from running traps and lightning crashed all around.
Problem was no one had anticipated more than a few adventurers especially since Gov Napolitano had advised everyone to stay home due to a break in the gas line that weekend. As it turned out, there was not enough parking, no porta potties had been placed and the forest service was a nervous wreck. To top it all off for some strange reason people thought they were going to be served lunch…..but what everyone got was a small plate of crawfish to try.
Many lessons were learned that year! The next year there were shuttles to the lake, porta potties, 800 pounds of crawfish, and Fish and Game set up an educational table as well as rented out traps for families to give it a whirl. For a couple of years the event was held in Camp Verde with live music and crawfish eating contest.
This year will be the crawfish festival to beat all Arizona Crawfish Festivals. Romey and his buddy Boudreaux, owners of Arizona Crawfish Company, have staked out Bison Ranch as the location for this year’s fest. There will be live entertainment and plenty to eat. We hope you will come on up and pass a good time with the family as we celebrate all things Cajun.
For reservations and a listing of local accomodations check out www.arizonacrawfishcompany.com
Register by Wednesday to be sure to get in on the crawfish!
Come on up and let the good times roll! Laissez les bon temps rouler!
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