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By Taylor Rexrode
Rattlesnakes can be found in many areas of Texas and are a part of southern folklore.
Oglesby, a town southwest of Waco, hosts a yearly festival to catch these serpents in the hopes of controlling the rattlesnake population.
The 44th Annual Rattlesnake Roundup, hosted by the Oglesby Lions Club, will start at 7 a.m. Saturday and will continue until Sunday afternoon.
General admission is $4 and children younger than 6 years old are free.
All proceeds go directly into the Oglesby community, providing scholarships and money for events such as the community-wide Christmas party.
The Rattlesnake Roundup is centered on educating the Oglesby community about rattlesnakes.
Mike Walter, president of the Oglesby State Bank and member of the Lions Club, said the rattlesnake population prompted the roundup.
“Oglesby and the area around it is brushy and there’s a lot of snakes around that hurt the farms and livestock,” Walter said. “We decided it might be a good idea to put on a rattlesnake roundup. It was a way to control the snake population.”
Last year, Oglesby snake hunters captured around 130 snakes. According to Walter, these snakes are typically caught using long snake tongs, boxes and bags.
Those who wish to participate as a snake hunter must have a wild game permit and should be registered by 10 a.m. Saturday. Registration for snake hunters is $5.
The main events for the roundup do not involve catching snakes. The 4H Club will provide concessions, the Oglesby Volunteer Fire Department will serve barbecue and the Lions Club will cook 50 pounds of rattlesnake meat. There will also be live music, raffles, an old-fashioned gunfight, and train and wagon rides.
Jackie Bibby, known as the “Texas Snake Man,” will put on snake demonstrations at 10 a.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. Sunday. He holds five Guinness World Records for snake handling.
Walter enjoys the roundup for what it brings to all the people of Oglesby.
“I have a 6-year-old boy who has been looking forward to this for months,” Walter said. “It’s good to see kids learn about snakes and what to do if you walk up on one.”