Gator Boys' Jimmy Riffle and Ashley Lawrence on Fear, Subtitles, and Mississippi Mud
How was Mississippi compared to South Florida?
Jimmy: It was a big change, Florida to Mississippi. In Florida you go into the mud and 12 inches, a foot down you find cap rock, lime rock. When we got to Mississippi we didn't know what to expect. The mud, the terrain -- there was no bottom to the mud. When you have a large gator coming at you and you can't move, that definitely adds a lot of danger. The water was very dark and murky, which made it very difficult for Paul. The people are very different. I never had a gun pulled on me when we were trying to catch a gator on someone's property till I got to Mississippi.
Doesn't seem like you're ever scared, but what's the scariest moment you've encountered?
Jimmy:We've been working with them for so long it's not that I'm afraid; I respect the animals. The scariest time when I actually did get bit, I've been bit seven times, but my worst bite was by a nine-foot gator. He bit me in my right thumb and he held on for eight minutes and we couldn't get him off. He tried to roll, he was shaking back and forth. My mentor was on the back of the gator at this time; he wasn't able to do the complete roll, so I had eight full minutes to think about what was going on. It felt like two hours.
Ashley:I mean, I'll be honest -- working with this group, we've been good at keeping most situations pretty under control, which is great. Most people watching us think it's really intense, it's really crazy, but a lot of times you don't realize it's intense until after the situation is over. You have to stay so connected and in tune to what's going on. After, you go, "holy cow it's crazy!"
What do you think will surprise people the most about this season?
Jimmy: The change from Florida to Mississippi, the captions with people talking. Really and truly though, I would say the different scenery. We were able to add some airboats into this. Just a lot of different stuff that we weren't able to do here in Florida. It was a really good learning experience for us because I got a feel for different areas. I think the audience is really going to enjoy the twists, the change of it. This season there was some blood, so you know people love that, of course.
What's the status with filming? Will you be returning to South Florida?
Jimmy: Paul, he's pretty much at Holiday all the time right now. It's kind of in the middle, we're not positive, but we feel pretty confident that we will be. But if not, we definitely have a place in Mississippi that allowed us to film our new season. We became really good friends with these guys, so if we need to we can continue there.