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Sweetwater Jaycees Ready For Rattlesnake Round-Up

We are just two weeks away from one of the biggest annual attractions in the Big Country. The world's largest rattlesnake round-up in Sweetwater.
If there is one weekend to visit Sweetwater Texas, it's when the shake, rattle and roll are at an all time high.

"That weekend, about 50-thousand people come to Sweetwater just to see the Rattlesnakes," explains Sweetwater Jaycees' President, Riley Sawyers.

Yes...Rattlesnakes.

The west Texas town is famous for its annual, world's largest, rattlesnake round-up.
It all started more than fifty years ago, when a group of farmers realized the snakes were literally taking over.

"If you've got more snakes than people..you've got a problem," said Sawyers.

At that time however, little was known about these slithering creatures.

"As the story goes, that first year, no one knew what they were doing with rattlesnakes," explains Sawyers. "Fifty-five years later, I think we've gotten pretty good at it."

They most definitely have. The four day event now includes everything from a parade, to a pageant.

"The round-up is amazing, you see things you don't get to see everyday," says reigning Miss Snake Charmer Kayla Chouning.

The round-up isn't just about the thousands of snakes that will be crawling around. It's also about collecting the venom and studying the snakes in order to save lives and control the snake population.

"They've got a drug on the market now that is derived from snake venom that can actually stop a heart attack or stroke in progress," explains Sawyers.  "So a lot of good has come from being around rattlesnakes."

The process is not easy. It takes a couple hundred snakes to milk just an ounce of venom.
But the overall benefit to the community and to the medical world is unmatched.
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