BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Forget all about bird watching. If you’re really into hardcore sports, then you might consider heading over to Sweetwater Jaycee to participate in the annual rattlesnake roundup. With over 40.000 people coming from all over the state to turn in their spoils of war, the event is both charitable and educative.
The event was set in motion back in the ‘50s by the resident of Sweetwater Jaycee. According to some of the organizers, back in 1959, when the event was in its infancy, it was designed to raise money for the children of the city.
Also, it would seem that the event is famous around the world, the spectacle being attended by no less than 40.000 people each year.
So, what is the annual snake roundup event? To put it in simple terms: catch the snake, put it in the box and bring it to the annual roundup to have it skinned and transformed into various products.
The organizers mentioned that this year’s snake roundup event had a special meaning. During the 2016 rattlesnake roundup event, the organizers want to beat 1982’s harvesting. According to them, in 1982, the participants brought with them no less than 18.000 pounds of rattlesnakes from all over the state.
And it would seem that the event, which will end on Sunday evening, has achieved its goals. Some of the organizers told us that the participants wheeled in more than 24.000 pounds of rattlesnakes. Moreover, seeing the unusually high number of snakes, the organizers had to build extra holding pits.
Terry Armstrong, one of the snake handlers participating in the event said that last year the number of rattlesnakes was very high compared to 2014 and 2013. Armstrong, along with other snake handlers, believes that the mild winter and the wet fall encouraged the creatures to breed more.
As stated, the annual event managed to attract people from all over the world. Adults and children alike, come in vast numbers in order to see, touch and skin snakes. Ted Thomas, a member of Sweetwater Jaycee’s snake community, said that the first thing taught to children is how to handles snakes.
With safety being their primary concern, the snake handlers from Sweetwater offer precious advice to people who don’t know what to do when they encounter snakes.
According to the handlers, when you see a snake, regardless if it’s poisonous or not, the best thing to do is to stop and back up slowly.
The event hosted by Sweetwater Jaycee’s Nolan County Coliseum started on Saturday morning and will last until Sunday evening.