Some 5,000 pounds of rattlesnakes collected
This particular event, ongoing since 1958, attracts about 30,000 people each year and has a reported economic impact of $5 million.
At each event, the snakes are measured, sexed and weighed for the state’s wildlife department for management purposes. Once skinned, the meat is cooked and the skins are made into belts, wallets, boots, and other products.
“It’s a really amazing event,” spokesman Riley Sawyers told the Abilene Reporter News. “People are interested in rattlesnakes. I think that’s what surprises me most.”
Some might frown on this practice, but Sawyers views the roundup as a management tool to help farmers keep rattlesnakes in check.
“It’s like any hunting,” he said. “It’s needed to control the population. It’s more about conservation than it is extermination.”
In case you’re planning to attend, you might be interested to know the Sweetwater event also features a parade, a Miss Snake Charmer pageant, carnival, flea market, and, if you have the stomach for it, a snake meat-eating contest.
We hear it tastes like chicken.