After years of coming in second in the Lowcountry Cajun Festival's annual crawfish-eating contest, Mike Thompson of James Island was thrilled to finally win on Sunday.

But he was disappointed that his prize was a hat, instead of the usual Gold Pass, a year's free admission to any Charleston County park.

"I finally win and I get a hat?" he asked after downing 26 crawfish to win the event.

When they learned of Thompson's disappointment, officials at the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission on Monday decided to send Thompson, 48, a bike shop mechanic, a Gold Pass.

"Apparently for the majority of the past number of years, our crawfish eating contest winners have been from outside of the tri-county area, thus, a Gold Pass was not of much use to them as a prize," said CCPRC spokeswoman Sarah Reynolds. "This year, our event planners decided to offer up different prizes that would be a little more of use and of interest for anyone who won the contest. We meant absolutely no ill will by not offering up the pass this year."

She said future winners will also be offered the option of a Gold Pass.

Reach Brenda Rindge at 937-5713 or @brindge on Twitter.