The brand Okie Noodling was accidentally created in 1999. Oklahoma filmmaker Bradley Beesley, and his close friends James Payne and Damon Cook, made a documentary film that chronicles the colorful sport of hand-fishing, which is also known as noodling. We never dreamt that other humans would actually watch our film and help fuel what has become a regional and cultural phenomena.
The movie has been a film festival and PBS favorite for over a decade, and along with a sequel, it still airs today. In addition, during the summer of 2000, with the help of Bob's Pig Shop and the city of Pauls Valley, Bradley created the first ever competition for noodlers. The first Okie Noodling Tournament hosted 37 participants and 500 spectators. I think we gave away 70 t-shirts, a few hundred plates of hand-caught flatheads and of course loads of beers! The event has certainly grown-up since.
Over a decade later the Okie Noodling Tournament has become a truly unique Oklahoma destination event for local families and folks from around the globe. The past several festivals drew crowds reaching 10,000 or more. Each year, we receive entries from as far as Japan and Russia. Furthermore, we have attracted media attention from ESPN, The History Channel, National Geographic, and the British Broadcasting Corporation.
Accordingly, we have launched this brand based on feedback from hand-fishermen, noodling event attendees, and viewers of the film. We hope that you enjoy our goodies, and we would love to see you in the murky Oklahoma waters or at the annual Okie Noodling Tournament – hopefully with all your digits intact.