The Norman Transcript


March 22, 2013

Round up

NORMAN — In Texas, round ups are commonplace. Of course you know the word can mean capture, gather together, collect, arrest, bring together or amass.

The most common type of round up in the great state of Texas is usually associated with cattle. Those lumbering ruminants wander hither and yon. The “hither and yon” part depends upon how much land you own and how far the cattle wandered.

Periodically, the cattle must be rounded up to be treated for various health issues, such as shots and clipping of private parts. Or, they are rounded up, loaded on a truck and taken to market and sold. Some will face the cattle’s version of the guillotine and may end up on your outdoor grill, sizzling away and smelling very much like burnt meat.

Parents who pop out countless children are constantly rounding up their offspring because the little rug rats do tend to wander off, get into mischief and/or get hurt. They just seem to have a knack for all of the foregoing, which is why parents turn gray.

In the metropolis of Sweetwater, Texas, they just celebrated the 55th year of the Sweetwater Rattlesnake Round-up. An estimated 30,000 curiously insane folks, from US, Canada, Israel, England, China, Australia, Germany, Texas and heaven knows where else, attended the three-day fun. According to Texas Game Warden George Pasley, “Even though this is a very dangerous animal, (the event is run in) a very safe and professional manner and the snakes are handled (with care).”

Now, the main fun is focused on the capture of as many of the slithering noisemakers as possible. Once caught, they are weighed, milked, killed and cooked. Some even end up as hatbands, boots and baby rattles.

The weighing/measuring part is to determine the winner of the most pounds of rattlesnake, as well as the longest one, caught. In case you wish to compete next year, there were 2,160 pounds caught this year and the longest snake was 78 inches or for those hailing from Mars that’s 6 1/2 feet. It would make a nice designer belt for someone with the proper girth.

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