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Whigham hosting annual Rattlesnake Roundup Saturday

A snake that strikes fear into the hearts of many people will be the center of attention in Whigham Saturday at the 55th Annual Rattlesnake Roundup. Shopping, eating, and kids’ activities are also part of the plans, with sunshine and mild temperatures in the forecast.
Members of Whigham Community Club, which sponsors the roundup as a fund raiser, are planning for a big crowd. “We’re hoping everyone will come out and support our event. Most of the money raised at the Roundup goes to the local Boy Scout Troop, Venture Crew and Cub Scout Pack, Whigham School, 4-H, and local burnout victims,” says Travis Shepherd, a club member and head of the local Boy Scouts. The Scouts handle parking for the event, and also clean up the grounds afterwards.
The day begins at 9 a.m. with free parking available adjacent to the “Snake Grounds,” located on U.S. 84 in Whigham, and a $2 entry fee to the grounds.
Snake exhibitions will be conducted by Rebecca Tucker of Yarbrough’s Educational Reptile Program, an Alabama based family owned business, which has conducted reptile shows since 1962.
“She brings rattlesnakes, boa constrictors, pythons, non poisonous snakes. She does a very informative kind of show,” says Barry Strickland, longtime snake ring master for the club. Mrs. Tucker is the only one presenting rattlesnake shows. She will be located in the metal pavilion at the center of the grounds.
Although hunters do bring their snakes to the Rattlesnake Roundup, the club no longer serves as the middleman buying the snakes from hunters and then selling them. Instead, the hunters sell the snakes directly to a buyer not associated with the club who will be on hand.
The club does pay cash prizes to snake hunters for the most and the heaviest snake.
Strickland says he is not expecting hunters to bring many snakes this year, “It’s not going to be a big number, because of the water. A lot of places they’re trying to check are full of water. Really, we haven’t had big numbers in a long time, we don’t expect big numbers. Less people are hunting; they don’t have time to hunt. There are less places to do it.”
The Roundup has not seen more than 82 wild snakes since 2010, when hunters brought 159. The next big number was 2007 when slightly more than 200 snakes were caught. The record number was 1995, when hunters brought 610 rattlers.
Because of the snakes on hand, visitors must leave their pets at home. Only hunters with snakes and official demonstrators are allowed to bring animals to Rattlesnake Roundup.
In addition to the rattlesnakes and the reptile program, arts and crafts vendors will hawk their wares along with food sellers.

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