Hurricane Hazel: The 84-year-old World Champion crab picker from Crisfield
CRISFIELD, Md. – If you live in the Crisfield area, you’ve heard the name Hazel Cropper, better known as Hurricane Hazel. She’s a world champion crab picker, and a famous figure in the town, or as she says, everywhere.
“All over, I’m worldwide,” Hazel said.
Her story starts in 1938 when she was born in the coastal town.
“My parents raised me very well, and my grandmother, who taught me at the age of nine, to pick crabs, because I always followed her,” she said.
And that’s where her story really picks up: at the age of nine when she followed in her grandmother’s footsteps and started picking crabs. She caught on quick and now, 75 years later, she’s a worldwide champion crab picker.
“I’m in the Guinness Book of World Records, I’m a 16-time world champion,” Hazel said, proud. “I got two world records. My very first one was four pounds and nine ounces in 15 minutes..m in 2014, I came in with five pounds .58 in 20 minutes.”
47 ABC’s Deana Harley asked her, what’s the secret? What’s the number one tip for cracking a crab? She said she doesn’t have one.
“I have no secret, because the gift comes from God, and when God gives you a gift, it’s there to stay until he decides to take it from you,” Hazel explained.
And now that gift is on display for everyone to see in Crisfield. Hazel has a mural dedicated to her and her winning ways of picking crabs.
“I feel good about it, because I represent the county, and I represent the town where I was born 84 years ago,” she said.
So it’s no surprise that when we asked her if she has plans of slowing down, she said that’s just not in her DNA.
“I tell everybody, if God gives you a gift, he’s not going to give it to you today and take it tomorrow, that’s a lifetime thing,” she said.
Now Hazel even caught the attention of country music star Jimmy Charles, who is also from Maryland. A post on Facebook highlighted Hazel and the mural dedicated to her in Crisfield and it caught Jimmy’s eye.
He wrote on the post asking to be put into contact with Hazel to potentially be in a music video of his for a song titled ‘It’s a Maryland Thing (You Wouldn’t Understand). We spoke with Jimmy, who says he just wants to highlight the Eastern Shore, the people here, and the traditions.
“It’s everything that Maryland is, and everything that Marylanders are proud of, and I was like, you know, why isn’t there a song that puts these all in perspective, and it’s so much fun,” Charles said.
Hazel has not confirmed yet whether she’ll be in the video, but Jimmy says he’s hoping she can make an appearance.
If you want to see Jimmy perform live, he has a number of shows coming up on the Eastern Shore, including headlining the Jellyfish Festival in Ocean City. You can find more dates and information on his Facebook Page and other social medias.