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Inaugural Nutria Rodeo is Happening This Weekend

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This is probably the coolest thing ever: This Saturday, there's a Nutria Rodeo out in Golden Meadow, Louisiana. It's 11-5 at Oak Ridge Community Park, with free admission and meal tickets available for $5 apiece.

The nutria (called a coypu just about everywhere else) is an invasive species of bucktoothed, rat-tailed rodents intent on destroying the wetlands of South Louisiana. The invasive destructiveness of the ugly beasts has led Louisianians to do ... interesting things with them, including eating and making ridiculous looking hats. According to the organizers, the Rodeo is "a creative way to control invasive species." But maybe more importantly, rumors suggest there will be nutria spaghetti, plus all sorts of more normal Cajun food.

The Nutria Rodeo is being organized by Sassafras Louisiana, an advocacy group created by a bunch of South Lafourche High School students, working for preservation and restoration of South Louisiana's wetlands. The name Sassafras, of course, is a reference to the tree whose leaves are dried and ground into filé, the thickening agent in Cajun gumbo (among other dishes).

But despite the name, the Nutria Rodeo isn't all about the swamp rat. Participants in the rodeo can also compete in Asian carp, feral pigs and coyote, with prizes given for the largest caught in each category, plus an additional prize for the nutria with the most orange teeth. You need a hunting license to actually kill nutria, but even if you're not wrangling rodents, it sounds like there'll still be enough food and music to make it a big ol' Cajun fest for a good cause.

So to sum: Nutria-freaking-Rodeo. God Bless Louisiana.

· Nutria Rodeo [Bouillie]
· Sassafras Louisiana [Official Site]

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