In the small town of Sweetwater, Texas, a controversial event happens every year, which brings about forty thousand visitors to this town that’s populated with ten thousand residents.
The Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup was created to keep control of the growing number of rattlesnakes that call home to farmlands, pasters, and cattle ranches. Every year rattlesnake hunters bring in thousands of snakes that will be killed, skinned, and sold on the market. Visitors will witness the bloody acts that Jaycees’ members put on to educate and show off these animals’ killing. While some of its curl and the snakes feel this pain minutes after being killed, others look at it as an old tradition passed on for sixty-two years.
The event is held every year a the Nolan County Coliseum in Sweetwater, Texas. A small town populated with a small suburb, farmlands, and a downtown area. The 2020 event was publicly announced to be open and running at full capacity, even during a worldwide pandemic. The town of sweet water relies on this event that brings millions of dollars every year to the small town.
The Roundup was first started in 1958 to control the poisonous snakes’ population in the farmlands and pastors. The Roundup is brought hundreds of thousands of snakes every year by snake hunters and local farmers and cattlemen. Throughout the years, the number of snakes has risen and the crowds every year have as well.
The Rattlesnake Roundup is hosted by The United States Junior Chamber, also known as Jaycees. The organization is known for bringing solutions to local problems in American towns and the international community. In a 2015 economic impact report, the 2015 Rattlesnake Roundup attracted 25,680 visitors and brought Sweetwater’s local businesses over eight million dollars in profit.
Coby Cox, shows visitors the fangs of a giant rattlesnake in the research pit. The research pit is used to collect data on the snakes.
The Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup was created to keep control of the growing number of rattlesnakes that call home to farmlands, pasters, and cattle ranches. Every year rattlesnake hunters bring in thousands of snakes that will be killed, skinned, and sold on the market.
A full view of the Nolan County Coliseum, during the 2020 Sweetwater Rattlesnake Round.
Thousands of Rattlesnakes are brought to the Sweetwater, Rattlesnake Roundup in Texas every year to help control the growing populations.
Travis, a Jaycee employee, moves around rattlesnakes in the "Pitt" to find the longest snake and help prevent suffocation of animals' piles.
A young boy presses his hands against safety glass on the snake pit, where rattlesnakes that have been captured in the wild are brought in for slaughter.
A vendor at the Rattlesnake Roundup in Sweetwater, Texas, holds a stuffed rattlesnake around his shoulders for visitors to take a photo with the dead snake.
A man focuses on removing the skin of a beheaded rattlesnake at the Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup.
A man holds a handful of fresh skinned snake skins during the 2020 Rattlesnake Roundup.
Scot Van Allen, a Jaycee Member, displays a snake showing visitors of the 2020 Rattlesnake Roundup.
Headless rattlesnakes lay on a table as Jaycee members skin the snakes in front of event visitors in the Nolan County Coliseum.
Rattlesnakes are taken from "The Snake Pitt" to the beheading stump, to this location, the skinning table. Rattlesnake bodies still curl after being beheaded, and the heart will even beat after being removed.
Red Hurd II, the VP Manager of Jaycee, removes the head of a Rattlesnake during the 2020 Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup.
Headless and skinless snakes are placed in a yellow-colored trash bag that goes to a kitchen, where it is cleaned and cooked for visitors at the 62nd Rattlesnake Roundup in Sweetwater, TX.
Rattlesnake skins hang down from a display table priced for sale to visitors of the Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup.
Stuffed snakes sit on a vendors table at the 2020 Rattlesnake Roundup in Sweetwater, Texas.
A curled rattlesnake is put on a table before a Jaycee Member milks its venom's snake. The toxin is used for research to help develop medicinal uses.
A young boy, center, stands and watches rattlesnakes as they are milked of their venom in the arena below, with his Grandfather, left and father, right.