Having heard many times about the Sweetwater Jaycees Rattlesnake Roundup in the past, my husband, Dan, REALLY wanted to go this year. Since we’re in San Angelo, it’s an easy hour and a half drive. I have to admit, I was not as enthusiastic as he was, as I’m far from being a snake enthusiast.
Here’s the back story as to why. When I was a teenager, our family was renovating our house in the country. My dad saw a rattlesnake in our living room and killed it with a broom handle in the middle of the night. A few weeks later, I was grabbing a belt out of my top drawer as I was getting ready for school. Not paying attention until the belt moved, I screamed, “Snake!” My dad came running in, pulled the drawer out and when it hit the floor, he shot it. Needless to say, a hole was left in the floor big enough for the entire snake’s family to slither up and move in. My dad was not a snake fan either. He was bitten a few years prior by a snake, I think it was a copperhead, so he was in no mood to mess with the snake in my room. I moved into my Aunt and Uncle’s house down the street until the coast was clear.
After a rough 2020, I made the decision to truly focus on ‘living my dash.’ That’s the time between the year you’re born and the year you die. Perhaps a rattlesnake encounter is not the best way to jump into that thought process, but why not?
We made our way to the food court, as we arrived just in time for lunch. Dan opted for a burger while I couldn’t pass up the Brisket Parfait, made up of layers of mashed potatoes and brisket in a clear cup and topped with BBQ sauce. So far, so good.
With camera around my neck, zoom lens attached, of course, and with great anticipation, we paid our admission to see everything rattlesnake. Dan’s enthusiasm I understood. That said, I kept asking myself, “What is wrong with you?”
We knew immediately where to go when we walked into the coliseum filled with vendors. Two squared-off areas of the arena were surrounded by people staring at guys walking around with snakes. They literally were surrounded by snakes and walked around with snakes in their hands. Who seeks out this job? Seriously. Who? And why?
I suppose no festival themed around a rattler should go without taking a bite of fried snake while you’re there. I have to say it was similar to the time I was talked into trying frog legs.
On a side note, I dislike frogs about the same amount as I do snakes. I don’t see myself eating either again, unless I’m stuck in the wilderness and starving. If I had to choose my desert survival food, I think I’d rather take my chance with prickly pear cactus.
While it really isn’t my cup of tea, I enjoyed experiencing it. This festival has a rich history, having been around since 1958. I wish the Jaycees many more years of success with the roundup in Sweetwater. I’ll enjoy it from a distance.