“IT” Happened At The World’s Greatest Rattlesnake Round-Up

by Karen Ekstrom

Our old ranch foreman, face twisted up into his ‘how-dumb-can-you-be’ look. “You’ve never been to the World’s Largest Rattlesnake Round Up in Sweetwater Texas?”

“No.” I said, amazed that he and I lived on the same patch of ground, in the same town, in the same state, and yet seemed to have lived totally different lives. He was “Mr.-I’m-a-famous-cowboy.” He roped and branded and strutted a lot. I was married to his boss and did social foo-foo stuff around town. He thought I was a silly, city girl. I thought his callused hands could benefit from a 60-minute manicure. You know, the kind that comes with hot wax. And his feet… Well… That cowboy kept his feet encased in flashy boots, so I’d never seen them but I bet he didn’t get pedicures either.

“Mitzi and I go to Sweetwater every year. Why don’t you and Henry join us? We’ll introduce you around and show you a couple snakes.”

As cowboys go, he sounded sincere but I knew him well enough to be… suspicious.

Either way, that was how Henry and I ended up in the big town of Sweetwater Texas, for their Rattlesnake Round Up.

The first thing you need to know…

  1. This is a big deal. Cars, people, venders line the roads and fields that surround the coliseum. Parking is a problem. Be prepared to walk.
  2. Sweetwater’s Jaycees run the event efficiently ~ as one would think after having done it for 59 years!
  3. The rattlesnakes are close.

4. They skin them and eat them on site.

5. The natives are pretty laid back about it all.

6. Tourists are easy to spot.

7. The place smells like death. (Rattlesnakes smell really bad. I’m not kidding. The closest description is really… death… they smell like rotting dead animals.)

8. Some people like getting really close to the rattlers.

9. That cowboy may think I’m nutty but it was Mitzi would crawled into the snake pit. NOT ME!

So, maybe that cowboy is the Nutty one.

Not me!



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Brett Minor October 18, 2017 - 6:12 am

I don’t have a fear of snakes. I’ve owned several huge pythons in my life. But I’m not sure that I’d be comfortable messing around with venomous ones.

Karen Ekstrom October 18, 2017 - 4:37 pm

Me neither!!!

Celia Scroggins October 19, 2017 - 2:18 pm

Karen, the Rattlesnake Roundup started on my grandfather’s ranch waaaayyyyy back when. I actually saw him at the last one among all the 50 million people!!! Small world!

Karen Ekstrom October 19, 2017 - 2:48 pm

That is so cool about your grandfather’s ranch! It’s a very small world!


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