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Posted by W von Papinešu on March 23, 2003 at 12:10:15:
BIG SPRING HERALD (Texas) 22 March 03 As expected, roundup gets off to slithery start (Lyndel Moody)
Vickie Morgan shifted through dozens of venomous diamondback rattlesnakes nuzzled in the pit, searching for just the right one.
"We're going to play baseball," the snake handler declared to the show's announcer.
Her search at an end, Morgan sent the perfectly coiled reptile shooting across the pit into the waiting hands of fellow snake handler Jackie Bibby, while hundreds of spectators observed.
The stunt is just one of many snake handlers would perform Saturday at the AMBUCS 41st annual Rattlesnake Roundup at the Howard County Fair Barns.
"They're not pets, they're not de-fanged and they're not de-venomized," said Monty Stallcop, announcer for the snake handler show.
In fact, Stallcop emphasized, the venomous creators were brought to the show yesterday after being recently being caught by hunters hoping to earn cash for the reptiles.
"This show, Jackie held snakes in his mouth, they played catch, did a walk-out," Stallcop said. "They had a snake pop a balloon to show the strike. We do a lots of things to show people what you can and what you cannot do with snakes, depending on the snake."
Spectators can expect more of the same today as the roundup gets rattling at noon and runs to 6 p.m.
Along with the demonstrations, AMBUCS volunteers will be busy skinning and cooking the 2,000 plus pounds of snakes that managed to slitter into the roundup by noon Saturday. More snakes were still expected later Saturday and today.
The club's profit from the roundup helps support scholarship programs, both locally and nationally, along with purchasing specially designed bicycles for handicapped children.
In conjunction with the roundup, a free arts and crafts show, flea market and carnival are a part of the festivities.
"We have a great time out here and we hope people not only learn something but are entertained at the same time," Stallcop said.
The cost for admission to the roundup is $5 for adults and $3 for children.