4/21/09

My World - Rattlesnake Roundup!

The Waynoka 63rd Rattlesnake Roundup was held this past weekend in NW Okieland. These pictures were taken a couple of years ago, when we visited the event with friends visiting from England. I still can't believe I attended this festival, let alone entered the 'Den of Death' and I won't be going again! The only reason I went was so that I would recognise a Rattlesnake if one crossed my path, which is bound to happen eventually.

It began in the 40s as gathering of area ranchers, who banded together for the purpose of thinning out a threat to their cattle, the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake. It has become a tradition and the Waynoka Saddle Club was formed to organise the event annually, in an effort to boost the local economy. As you can see in these pictures, the markings and colouring vary greatly in this species. It was also interesting to see how rarely they would strike, really only attacking when provoked in the pit.

Hundreds are caught over the weekend and the event ends with a ceremony where the snakes are measured and weighed. A prize is given for the longest snake captured (alive), the most pounds caught, and for the most buttons on the end of a rattler. The final event is an auction in which the longer snakes are auctioned off to the highest bidder. Needless to say the snakes are not released at the end, so this is really a mass culling event. Although we have more than enough Rattlesnakes in this area and they do need culling, I do not agree with it being done for the purpose of entertainment in this way.

My British friend Andrew was far braver than the rest of us, and allowed this snake to be laid across his shoulders! The size of some of these snakes is impressive, and now you know why I don't go walking around the beautiful canyons here in snake season. Waynoka is not the only town around here to hold one annually!

This was a more appealing place to visit in Waynoka for a Brit'!!

To join in the fun go to My World Tuesday

41 comments:

Iota said...

How on earth do they catch them? And what do the people who win them in the auction do with them?

This is the stuff of my darkest nightmares. I couldn't have gone into that place, I really couldn't.

Vickie said...

I went to one rattlesnake roundup when my family was stationed in Big Spring Texas....there's not much else to do in Big Spring Texas....I was 8 or 9. I..do..not..like...poisonous snakes. Non-poisonous are okay. And rattlesnake does not taste like chicken.

Erin said...

snakes alive! enjoyed your post and it was quite interesting and i did learn something from it :) thanks for sharing the photos and history of the event. have a great week.

Expat mum said...

We had fried rattlesnake in Arizona! Tastes a bit like chicken...

Sarah said...

I would sooooo love fish and chips british style. There is no where around here that does that. The rattle snake thing was kinda scary. All those snakes in that pic gave me goose bumps on my arms lol. Good blog Sarahx x

pamokc said...

NOWAY on the rattlers! Me not driving out for that event, thanks! Thank goodness they are rounding them up!

SweetPeaSurry said...

I think I would have passed on an outing to the snake pit!!! Heee

blessings!

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

Oh yeah Sarah that looks like loads of fun!! I think you are nuts!!! I'll make a point of avoiding Waynoka this time of year from now on.

Ebie said...

Yikes, snakes, scared of them. Me too, I would never go back. But this is an interesting festival, first time I have heard of. Thanks for sharing!

Sylvia K said...

Oh, that does bring back my Texas memories!! It is something to see -- just hopefully not where they slither around on the ground with no cages! Terrific photos! Thats the way I like to see them!! Have a great week!

Photo Cache said...

That is a very interesting event that I never knew existed. Thanks for sharing. I learned something new today.

Lew said...

I prefer to leave all the snakes alone and not question the type! Were the fish and chips as good as back home in the U.K.?

nature ramblings said...

Sad event but I guess culling is necessary when dealing with THAT MANY SNAKES!!! We have rattlesnakes around here but not that many. I showed my husband these pictures (he absolutely hates snakes) and he could hardly look at them. Great pictures of a very interesting event. Thanks for sharing.

Marites said...

eeeeeeeeeeek! got me goosebumps. Some snakes are harmless but rattlesnakes? that's one event i'll stay away from LOL! you are quite brave:)

My world is up too.

Peggy said...

OMG Sarah;

I do not like snakes...yuck yuck yuck! But I do not like that they kill them after rounding them up.
I guess I'm a tree hugger/animal lover at heart!
I know that there are alot of them out there in the wild! As long as they let me be...I'm for returning the favor!
Love your picture, you are so pretty!

Lanny said...

You know I really enjoy snakes, the girls and I love to see them in the yard, one big difference, nothing around here is deadly poisonous! Brave friend for sure. But I think I would join you at the fish and chips joint

Gaelyn said...

So what does happen to all those rattlers? Do they get eaten?

If you watch where you walk, and use a staff, you should be able to walk anywhere. Never put feet or hands where you can't see first.

It's not that I like snakes in general or rattlers in particular. But they're not going to stop me from hiking in their home territory.

Babooshka said...

You would find me in the chippy, rather than the Roundup. I hope you never have a rattlesnake so much as come within a mile of your path.

chrome3d said...

Those snakes formed very nice and abstaract shapes on the floor. Great post.

Indrani said...

You really have a brave friend.
And it is better not to walk around and meet one of them.

Jenn said...

Thanks for sharing coz I would never even think of going. Now I know how a rattle looks like. Interesting post!

LadyFi said...

Oh my - what beautiful looking snakes. And what a shame that they are killed at the end of it all.

Kendris said...

My father-in-law used to do that; he won one competition with a 6'1" specimen.

It's the sleeping bag stuffing contests that give me the willies!

Flea said...

Oh what fun! Wait. I don't do venomous snakes.

fishing guy said...

Sarah: Noone is putting a rattle snake around my neck. I don't even want a gardner snake there. I love the photos from a distance. I go with you for the fish and chips.

Sarah (JOT) said...

Ach, I so loathe those stupid buggers! All slithery and yuckyity yuck! Blech!!!

BTW, love your Brit Word posts!

expateek said...

Ewwwww! Terrifying! Hope the London Fish & Chips served Guinness to mute the horror!

Rhea said...

I am dropping my keyboard and running from your site as fast as I can.

I do NOT like snakes.

Brit' Gal Sarah said...

Ah now Rhea, you can't say I didn't warn you!

Gaelyn, the snakes are butchered and the skins and meat are sold.

Jill of All Trades said...

Now I'll pick up a snake that is not poisonness but I draw the line at rattlesnakes....YIKES...

Daryl said...

Okay ... I am so not liking snakes .. I couldnt even look at the pix .. I know I am silly but they & spiders skeeve me out ...

I did like the looks of the London Fish & Chips place ..

The Blonde Duck said...

Popped in from SITS to say hi!

I don't do rattlesnakes. There's tons of them down here and I've had too many "round ups!" in my own backyard!

Sherri said...

Oh Sarah, I can't stand snakes!! It gave me the hibbie jibbies just looking at them! I think the Fish and Chips place would have suited me better too!

Bella Foxx said...

This was a weird post for me. There you round them up and kill them, here (Hudson Valley, NY) rattlesnakes are considered endangered and if you kill one you get fined!

You can even get fined for 'disturbing' their nest!

Reader Wil said...

Snakes are not popular in most countries, but they play sometimes an important role in legends and religions. The aborigines in Australia used to believe that the Rainbow-serpent was the Creator Spirit. Thanks for sharing your experiences! Thanks also for your visit.

Arija said...

The whole thing seems unnecessarily cruel to me, apart from that, snakes are necessary to keep the ecological balance.

Louise said...

I so agree they don't need culling! We have them here--in the desert areas. We were hiking one day, and my husband almost stepped on one. It coiled but did not strike. They control rodents. No, I don't want to sleep with them or play with them, but life isn't necessarily easy for them. They have their own ways of mortality. The diseases rodents carry are far more dangerous.

Carver said...

Wow, that's amazing. They are beautiful in their own way but I wouldn't want to get near one of them.

antigoni said...

I can't even imagine it....a snake on me! Snakes and me aren't the best of friends. But your post was great. The snakes were far away from me.

Kay said...

Whoa.... Now that's something to give Indiana Jones nightmares. I can tolerate snakes a bit better than spiders but not around my neck.

Lisa Wilson said...

I think I would have to pass on that festival, or watch from very far away!