Florida Folklife Program
Folk Heritage Awards Recipient: Gary and Audrey Revell
Gary and Audrey Revell
Gary and Audrey Revell - 2010 Florida Folk Heritage Award
Gary Revell and Audrey Revell are partners both in marriage and worm grunting, a traditional method of harvesting wild worms for bait. Worm grunting involves driving a wooden stake into the ground and rubbing the top of it with a flat piece of steel to make a grunting or snoring noise. Worms surface in response to the noise, which mimics the vibrations made by burrowing moles, a voracious worm predator. Gary Revell is a fourth-generation worm grunter. His great-grandfather was a fishing guide who grunted, or "roped," worms for his customers. Gary himself has grunted worms since he was old enough to walk in the woods. For over 30 years, the Revells have earned their living by charming worms out of the earth. They have played a pivotal role in the development of the annual Sopchoppy Worm Gruntin’ Festival. Each year the Revells share their good-natured humor and skills with festival goers, and encourage all to appreciate and celebrate the rewards of this earth-bound tradition. In 1971, Charles Kuralt produced a segment about the Sopchoppy worm grunting community for his popular CBS program, "On the Road." Today, the Revells are featured in numerous newspaper articles and television programs including a recent program on the Discovery Channel. Through their hard work and enthusiasm, the Revells ensure the continuation of this unusual and valued tradition.