Volume II Issue 303  Ron Johnson, Publisher
Banner Elk Magazine is published online Mon-Fri
Copyright 2012-2013 All Rights Reserved
Ongoing Banner Elk Magazine investigation

Acting on a tip gained from an anonymous source, an investigation was launched yesterday to hunt down the source of an all-brown Woolly Worm, a first in the history of the festival and a source of much consternation since the all-brown rings indicate above average temps during the valuable ski season in the High Country.

Here's what we now know: 
It is believed that this couple on Miami Beach in September
discovered the all-brown Woolly Worm. The guy on the right used to live in Piney Flats, TN and knew about the
Woolly Worm Festival and the $1,000 that goes to the winning worm.

Here you see the same man and woman associating with known underworld characters including Joe "The Worm" (center). It is believed that "The Worm" was then transferred to ................  
David Tate .... seen here dancing on South Beach. Tate and his Yellow Mountain Enterprises had a chance to bring in $1,300 if they were to collect 1,300 worms before the October 12 deadline. It is believed the all-brown worm was transferred to Tate at the dance. Follow the money. 
It is believed that Tate, under the direction of "The Worm" brought the all-brown worm to this ship in Miami Harbor where it was placed into a cooler. The ship anchored somewhere on the outer banks of North Carolina and passed the worm off to a waiting plane.
"Fuzz" was transferred to this jet which was photographed following landing at Elk River Airport.

"The Worm" had a plan to use several "mules" to smuggle the worm into the festival. Here on the mules is seen the morning of the festival (the black car).

"Fuzz" was passed off to the man at the top left who was posing as an invalid at the festival. Yes, at the top right you see the blond from South Beach posing as a festival goer. The worm, it is believed, is in her right back pocket. The man on the cell (bottom left) took a call from "The Worm" and was told to transfer "Fuzz" to the man at the bottom right who was posing as a sign-carrier at the festival.

The worm was eventually passed from mule-to-mule into the hands of Michelle Griffin of Ansonville, NC. Following "Fuzz's" victory Mr. Woolly Worm stared at the all-brown worm in disbelief as did Tommy Burleson (the tall one) who has the critter in his hands for study. That's Sue Freeman, Executive Director of the Avery County Chamber of Commerce, unknowingly hugging the winner.

After Burleson gave the crowd the news that the temps would be above average during ski season and outright warm the last five weeks of winter, Ms. Griffin counted her loot. It is believed that she made off with $200 while the rest - $800 - was wired to "The Worm" in South Beach from The Pantry in Banner Elk. "I thought it was strange for the winner of the money to be wiring $800 of it to South Beach, but you see all kinds of funny stuff goin' on here," said a Pantry clerk.

Here you see "Miranda Lambert" (the worm's name and her name) following her win for $500 in the Sunday race at the festival. As you can see the worm has lots of black which is good for the upcoming ski season because that means cold and snowy. 

It is now being learned that the Avery Chamber and Banner Elk Kiwanis Club, sponsors of the Woolly Worm Festival, are considering having Mr. Burleson study "Miranda Lambert" and declare her as the winning worm.

If you have knowledge of the whereabouts of "The Worm," the blond and the guy from Piney Flats, please contact the Banner Elk Police Department. 

Banner Elk Magazine
Investigative reporting and photos by Ron Johnson, Publisher

See the video of Tommy Burleson and Judd Gowin questioning the fact that three worms fell off the string in the championship race.