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City Data for Lizard Lick, North Carolina

Lizard Lick, North Carolina is a small but quickly growing, unincorporated community located just off of US 64 in Wake County.

The community is approximately 20 miles east of the state capital of Raleigh. It is about 3 miles north of Wendell and 3 miles west of Zebulon, located at the crossroads of Lizard Lick Road and Highway 97.

The US Census Bureau shows that in 2000 the total population was 15,339 with 71. 1% of the population 16 years of age and over reported "in labor force" (higher than the national average), but lower than national average education levels (percent graduating High school and percent with bachelor's degree or higher). Data also shows higher than national average household and family median income, and lower than national average percentage of families and individuals below poverty level. This data could be interpreted as the fitting the stereotype of rural cultural values which place hard-work above education.

According to the Lizard Lick Town Hall website, they have their "own official LIZARD LICK TAXI, a 1978 green Caddy. . LIZARD LICK UNIVERISTY (sic) where you can learn to stump whup chitlens, peg tobacco, kill wiregrass and do some hog hollerin’. . and LIZARD LICK GRAND OLE OPRY, where such famous singers as “Buster Lugnut & the Dipsticks” have performed. "


During the mid to late 1800s, the Federal Government opened a liquor still near a tiny crossroads. It was built to combat the growing number of bootleggers in the area who were producing a lot of bad whiskey. Mayor Charles Woods’s Grandpaw Carter was born in the area around 1890; the first money he ever made was picking up bottles and selling them to the still. There was a wooden rail fence built around the still where hundreds of lizards would run the fence to catch insects that were attracted by the mash used to make the whiskey. He reported that ol’ Ed Pulley was the official Whiskey Taster for the Government. When Ed sampled the day’s run and was feeling no pain, he would take his walking cane and run the lizard off the fence as he left for home. He called his cane the Lizard Licker. According to local story-tellers, a salesman came along and saw the lizards on the fence as he stopped to fill his jug. He told other people about the government still where the lizards have their tongues out as they lay on the fence in the hot sun. He gave directions by telling people, “Go till you see the lizards on the fence and you will be able to get your store bought whiskey, called Lizard Liquor. ” The operator of the still was caught making whiskey on the side and was sent up town to the jail house. The still closed down but the lizards stayed, according to the story.

Independent anecdotes seem to confirm parts of this story. According to NC historian William S. Powell, the town got its name from a "passing observer who saw many lizards sunning and licking themselves on a rail fence. " Regardless of the town name, local community members who are native to the area are proud of their origins, and their economic future in the area. In May 1997, the state installed the first traffic light in Lizard Lick, marking a new period of "increasing property values" and growth.

Media Attention

In March 1998, the small town received publicity when Nintendo first released the Nintendo 64 game, "Yoshi's Story"

there, with the name of the host town reflecting the Nintendo character Yoshi's ability to extend his toungue over a long distance.

In September 2009, Lizard Lick once again received publicity, this time on a national level. The Time Warner owned TruTV cable television network became aware of a local towing and recovery company owned and operated by evangelist and Lizard Lick Mayor Pro-tem Ronnie Shirley and his wife Amy Shirley, called Lizard Lick Towing and Recovery.

According to the Eastern Wake News, the television series got it's start at the end of August, 2008, when the station sent a cameraman down for one day of shooting and that was all it took for a contract to be written. Those at the network were merely scouting out prospects at the time, but after realizing Amy Shirley was not only a power lifter, but a mortician and co-owner of the recovery business they realized there was more color to the picture than originally anticipated.

In addition, they soon discovered that Ronnie is a "walking reality show". Robyn Hutt, the truTV executive in charge of the show was quoted by the News & Observer (the largest regional daily newspaper of the Research Triangle Area covering several counties in North Carolina) "We really fell in love with Lizard Lick". The Shirleys are "dynamic and entertaining characters. "

The television series following Ronnie and his company operations is called "All Worked Up", and has a discussion forum, Ronnie's published poetry, interviews with the stars of the show, and further information including the scheduled show times.

Other media are taking notice of the town now. For instance, TowTimes. com, the official website of Tow Times Magazine, did a homepage feature story covering Lizard Lick Towing and Recovery. Some video clips from the television show can be found on the Lizard Lick Towing and Recovery Website at http://www. lizardlicktowing. com/lizard_videos. asp


  • ↑"2000 Fact Sheet" on the Federal Government website for the US Census Bureau, (data not available for later years). Retrieved Sept. 21, 2009.
  • ↑"Lizard Lick Town Hall Website". Retrieved May 18, 2010.
  • ↑"How Lizard Lick Got its Name". Retrieved May 18, 2009.
  • ↑"Wrath of Lizard Lick" in ''WRAL. com'', February 19, 2008. Retrieved May 4, 2008.
  • ↑Barnett, Cynthia. "Town basks in publicity. " The News & Observer Raleigh, NC. 8 March 1998.
  • ↑"Company Website". Retrieved May 18, 2010.
  • ↑"Local repo man hits the small screen", Published: Oct 14, 2009. Retrieved Oct 21, 2009.
  • ↑"Rolling with the repo man", Published Mon, Oct 19, 2009. Retrieved Oct 21, 2009.
  • ↑"TruTV Web Portal for 'All Worked Up'". Retrieved Oct 21, 2009.
  • ↑Tow Times Online is the premier information source for the towing and recovery industry, providing legal updates, state news, towing association news, towing business and company management throughout the United States, Canada and around the world
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