Sunday, February 1, 2009

Rattlesnake Roundup

On Saturday, we went up to tiny Whigham, Georgia to the 49th annual Rattlesnake Roundup. We had not been in years and decided it was time to go back.

The original purpose of the little festival was to raise money for community projects and it still does bring in folks from all over. We were curious to see how it might have grown. It has grown: there were a lot of people, a lot of cars and a lot more booths. The booths, however, were more of the flea market/fair type than the craft  and school/church food type that we prefer. We saw nothing that tempted us to buy. Though this came close! Doesn't everybody need a five foot (plus) green alien?  "Take me to Obama!"


We found a few other things we thought interesting.

A little 1926 mill was making corn meal and grits on the spot. Can you see the fake rat at the top of the hopper?


The local boy scout troop had set up a rope bridge that kids were challenged to try---for free. B also bought a raffle ticket from them for a shotgun.


And just as we got to the camera battery gave up the ghost. I had checked it before we left home, but it was cold this morning and it sucked all the life out of it. That was really disappointing.


We saw some BIG rattlers being brought in by the snake hunters. Some of the handlers used long-handled hooks and others used their gloved or bare hands.

The snakes are weighed, milked for venom, and counted. Most end up being sold for meat and skins. (Tastes like chicken, they say.) Though it was available, we did not partake. It was fried like everything else there. 

There are cash prizes for the hunter who brings in the largest and the one who brings in the most rattlesnakes. The record rattler weighed over 15 pounds in 1976. The record number was in 1989 with a whopping 164 snakes brought in by the winner.

We did not stay for the competition having seen what we came to see and not being able to photograph anymore was disappointing, as I said. That should do us for Roundup for a few more years.

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