From KERA News:
Thirty years ago, Michael Bohdan came up with an idea for a contest that changed his life. He offered $1,000 in cash for the largest cockroach in Dallas. He even printed out black-and-white “Wanted” posters with a drawing of a cockroach.
To Bohdan’s surprise, people weren’t that interested. So, he contacted CNN. As soon as the TV segment went on air — remember, this was the ’80s — his cockroach competition went viral.
“All of a sudden, I’m getting calls from all over Dallas, all over the world,” Bohdan says. “Cockroach hunters are like fisherman, they all brag, they have the biggest one, so that was pretty funny.”
The winners were three young women working at what was then Southwestern Bell. They found a cockroach just a hair shy of two inches long.
There are thousands of species of roaches in the world. Some, like the Madagascar roaches Bohdan still wears on his safari hat brim, are enormous. In the U.S., the smaller American and German cockroaches are more common. So this two-inch bug was a big deal. A few weeks later, Bohdan gets a call from NBC.
“They said, ‘Would you like to bring a cockroach on The Tonight Show?’ I took a big gulp and I said, ‘You bet.’”