Annual Florida Python Challenge Winners Announced


Lynne Sladky, AP File

Victoria Foster, Staff Writer

The 2022 Florida Python Challenge was held on Aug. 5, and after several months, the winners were announced this past week.

The Florida Python Challenge is an annual event held in order to help keep the number of invasive Burmese pythons in check. The event is officially supported by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida and the South Florida Water Management District.

Almost 1,000 participants were registered for this year’s event, all coming from 32 states, Canada and Latvia.

The first-place winner of this year’s competition was 19-year-old Matthew Concepcion, a native of Palmetto Bay, who removed a total of 28 Burmese pythons, and was awarded a prize of $10,000. Second and third-place winners were Joaquin Vila and Bruce Williams, who captured 15 and 10 Burmese pythons, respectfully.

There was also a prize of $1,500 awarded to the person who caught the largest Burmese python. The winner of this category was professional Dustin Crum, who successfully removed a python of 11 feet, 0.24 inches, with novice Jeffrey Lince right behind, capturing a python of 9 feet, 10.68 inches.

“Once again, the Florida Python Challenge has yielded impressive results with hundreds of invasive pythons being removed from the wild,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “Removing these snakes is one of the many efforts we are employing to restore and maintain the Everglades ecosystem.”

If you want to learn more about the Florida Python Challenge, its winners or are thinking about participating in next year’s challenge, you can visit its website here.