Rattle snake roundup in Whigam - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Rattle snake roundup in Whigam

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January 31, 2004

Whigam -- It's a 44-year old tradition that started in Whigam to help curb the rattlesnake population. Today the annual Rattlesnake round-up drew thousands of visitors to have a closer look at these dangerous snakes.

From his pointed boots to his weathered stetson hat Randy Campbell looks like a cowboy only he isn't wrangling cattle. He prefers handling hundreds of deadly rattle snakes. "I usually say that my wife bites me sometime but I like it but as far as the rattle snake bite NO!,"says Campbell.

Campbell has been apart of Whigham's Rattle Snake roundup for 12 years. He says every snake brought here means one less that may put you in harms way. "The rattle snakes will give birth to about eight-teen and most people can do the math on that," he says.

Snakes are collected sometimes months in advance for the event. The person who brings the largest will walk away with top prize. But for those who just came to watch, the very idea of crossing paths these reptiles is enough to turn the blood cold. "It's kinda scary I would not get in the ring,"says  onlooker from Atlanta. "I still like snakes but I would not past one in the woods if I don't have to,"says another spectator.

The rattle snake's deadly reputation has turned this event into such a success drawing thousand every year. "The economic plus are tremendous everyone of these vendors have to stay at a motel and have to eat in restaurants some of them will stay over tonight you are talking about thousands of people,"says Campbell.

For the snakes the news is not all bad. Some will be destroyed but others will be sent to zoos or used to find new antivenoms to save lives.

The festival does not come without criticism. Critics say the methods some people use to harvest snakes for the roundup is harmful and threatens the snake population.

posted at 6:50PM by scott.hunter@walb.com