Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup

Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup

Some go every year and some wouldn’t go if you paid them to go. Some go once in their lifetime and will quickly tell you that was the right amount of times. Some go to see the snakes and listen to David Sager show and tell you the right and wrong way to act if you find a rattlesnake near enough to hear both the rattle of the snake’s tail and the shaking of your knees.It’s a four day party with all the fair food you can eat combined with the best cooks in Texas putting out brisket, ribs, chops, chicken and of course, rattlesnake. I was offered the opportunity to be one of the judges for the rattlesnake cook-off but declined in favor of taking photographs and notes. I watched the tent of testers get their instructions on how to taste, how to cleanse their palettes before the next dish and how to rate the dish on a scale from one to ten. They also were to use a clean fork for every bite. With over one hundred entries in just the rattlesnake cook-off, they used a lot of forks.{{more}} Bill Utley lived next door to my parents and was one of the tasters for most of the different categories. He said most of them were pretty good. However one rattlesnake tasted like the cook used the hottest sauce from Buffalo Wild Wings and it was so strong that the sauce was all you could taste and you tasted it for about the next three entries. I’m not sure what they call the show in the barns. They have almost every craft you can think of and all the touristy goodies imaginable. There were the normal T shirts, jewelry and candiesMr. Jeremy Navarrette of Ralls “Wearing a Rattlesnake.” Photo by Joe Starkeyand there were some really nice rugs and a fabulous mesquite wood furniture maker.The Sweetwater Gun Club holds its annual show next door. There were guns for sale and guns “just for show” that will only leave the current owner when his will is read. Not much ammunition was for sale and what they had was expensive. I did get to watch a youngster that had finished his hunter certification earlier in the day choose his first hunting rifle. I’m absolutely sure I did not know as much about the type and quality of guns as the knowledge he displayed when making his selection.Now the Round Up. I had never been on a Saturday and I just thought it was crowded on Sunday. Getting there at 11:45 I was in Ms. Lesley Ann Knight “Fishing in the Creek” at the Roundup. Photo by Joe Starkeya line of cars to enter that was close to a mile long. The entrance to the Rattlesnake Round Up had four lines. This meant that you got into line only about 150 yards from the door. The line moved pretty fast and it only took about 10 minutes to get in the door. Once in, I went over to the balcony area to get an impression of the entire show and IT WAS FULL!! There were crowds at each of the demonstration areas. My favorite is always watching David Sager handle the snakes. He walks calmly among the biggest ones caught and picks the ones he wants to show off. First he shows the tools of the snake catcher and how to use them. He picks an aggressive snake and shows the crowd just howMr. Bill Utley judging the rattlesnake cook-off. Photo by Joe Starkeyfast a rattlesnake can strike and break a balloon. As always, the snake breaks the balloon and is back in position to strike again before most of the crowd sees the balloon break. Then he shows how much the crowd trusts him by getting one to tuck its head inside the coil, sliding it off the table onto his bare hand and walking the snake around the pit while people stare and try to get a closer photograph of him and the snake. He gives the best educational talk you’ll ever hear. This is really an event for the whole family. It’s educational, fun and the best opportunity for fair food in the area. You can even go on carnival rides.One of the 100+ cooking teams. Photo by Joe Starkey