Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup

Sweetwater, TX


A version of this story ran in the July 2012 issue.

The rain had turned the red dirt to mud the night before the annual Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup, and the tent housing the few thousand spectators and hundreds of rattlesnakes was little reprieve from the cold. Inside there was a constant rattling sound as, one by one, the snakes were weighed and measured and their sex determined for Texas Parks & Wildlife Department records. Afterward, rattlesnake wranglers demonstrated safe-handling tips and how to milk snakes for venom before the snakes’ heads were chopped off and their bodies skinned. I strive to be objective while documenting our cultural landscape. My goal is not to condemn or praise my subjects, but to preserve them. So love it or hate it, there aren’t many events like the Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup.

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