Okie Noodling competition returns to Pauls Valley - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Okie Noodling competition returns to Pauls Valley

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A sign at the 2018 Okie Noodling Tournament in Pauls Valley. (KTEN) A sign at the 2018 Okie Noodling Tournament in Pauls Valley. (KTEN)
Hand-fishing is the main attraction at the Okie Noodling Tournament in Pauls Valley. (KTEN) Hand-fishing is the main attraction at the Okie Noodling Tournament in Pauls Valley. (KTEN)

PAULS VALLEY, Okla. -- More than 100 people will take a hands-on approach to fishing this weekend as they compete for the top prize at the 19th annual Okie Noodling Tournament.

Tens of thousands of fans are expected to flood into Wacker Park for Garvin County's biggest event of the year, where the fishing is done with bare hands, not bait-and-tackle.

"Everybody comes out for noodling," said Jet Stream Casino manager Jaclyn Hull. "All the businesses decorate, we have flags all throughout the town, so it's really the key event for the area."

With an expected crowd that will more than triple the town's population, Pauls Valley tourism director Jason Selman said there's no better weekend for local merchants.

"All of our hotels are booked out within a week of the event, so there's revenue right there," he said. "It kind of puts money back into the town to spend on tourism for other events, and to be able to do stuff like this."

Visitors can expect plenty of upgrades for the 2018 edition of the festival, including getting up close and personal with the star attractions.

"We've got some theatrics, some smoke, some lighting... it's going to be much more of an interactive event," Hull said. "People can get closer than they ever have to the fish."

Okie Noodling weekend starts off with a free concert Friday night featuring country artist Stoney LaRue. 

There's a full day of activities on Saturday, including live noodling demonstrations, a river relay competition, and a men's only wet T-shirt contest.

The tournament winner will be announced at 7:30 p.m.


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