BY BUDDY NEVINS
“Alligator” Ron Bergeron is one of a kind.
He travels around in six-figure gold plated Hummer, five-figure custom-made airboats and four-figure handmade lizard-skin boots — all with “Alligator Ron” emblazoned on them.
It’s a handle he took to calling himself after an alligator he was wrestling got out of control and nipped his hand, ending up in the international media.
The businessman Bergeron has made gazillions in various businesses. And continues to enter new enterprises like his recent venture in waste disposal.
But he spends much of his time on preservation of the Everglades, a place where he spends much of his spare time. Few know as much about the huge wetlands.
So when somebody visits Florida and wants to learn something about the River of Grass, Bergeron’s the guy to see.
Vice President Joe Biden is Bergeron’s latest pupil.
And the voluble Biden joked about the Broward entrepreneur when he made a few remarks after a ride through the Everglades on Monday.
Bergeron, a Republican, did not accompany Biden on the ride. He was at the dock when Biden joshed about the businessman’s penchant for wrestling alligators.
As quoted on the CNN website, Biden quipped about it being his first time on a tour of the Everglades.
“I know Ronnie Bergeron is here,” Biden said. “He tried to get me out there about 10 years ago. But he didn’t want me to go see it. He wanted me to wrestle alligators. Y’all think I’m kidding. I’m not kidding. He’s one crazy son of a gun.”
As laughter came from an audience consisting of U. S. Sen. Bill Nelson and U. S. Rep. Alcee Hastings and the U. S. Interior Department’s Everglades point person Shannon Estenoz of Plantation, Biden continued:
“You see this man right here? My Secret Service guy? He said that if I go, he’ll shoot you, Ronnie. I’m only kidding. That’s not true. He didn’t say he’d shoot Ronnie. He said he’d shoot the alligator if I went.”