Rattlesnake Round-Up week is finally here.
From Thursday, March 7 through Sunday, March 10, the Sweetwater Jaycees host their 55th annual event at the Nolan County Coliseum. As usual, several activities are being held in conjunction with the Round-Up.
The Round-Up itself will actually be Friday through Sunday, March 8-10, at the Nolan County Coliseum. Gates will open at 8 a.m. all three days, closing at 5 p.m. on Friday and Sunday and at 6 p.m. on Saturday. The cost is $10 for adults and $5 for students.
Other Round-Up activities include the following:
— The Rattlesnake Review Parade is set for Thursday, March 7. This year, Miss Texas will be the Grand Marshall for the parade. Divisions to be judged will be most entertaining, most original, most creative, first place car division, best overall and best band. The parade begins at Ash Street and travels to Broadway, then to Elm Street and continues to the Nolan County Coliseum.
Lineup for the parade begins at 3:30 p.m. Judging is at 4 p.m. and the parade will start at 4:30 p.m. Entry forms must be completed, signed and returned by Thursday, March 7.
— The Miss Snake Charmer Scholarship Pageant will also be held Thursday, March 7, starting at 7 p.m. at the Sweetwater Municipal Auditorium. The pageant is open to all girls between the ages of 16-19 who live within a 75-mile radius of Sweetwater. Admission fees are $8 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under. This year, the Jaycees will have $3,500 in scholarship money available to the winners.
A total of $1,500 will be awarded to Miss Snake Charmer while $850 will be presented to the first runner-up. The second runner-up will receive $650 and the talent competition winner will receive $500. The competitions will include talent, evening gown and casual wear this year.
— The Sweetwater Gun, Knife and Coin Show will be held Friday through Sunday, March 8-10, at the coliseum annex. Admission will be $5 per person with children under 12 admitted free with a paying adult.
— The 23rd annual Jaycees Rattlesnake Round-Up Cook-Off will be held Saturday, March 9, at Newman Park. Categories will include CWTBA rules pork spare ribs, brisket and chicken, CASI rules chili and Western Diamondback Rattlesnake. There is a $125 entry fee for all categories with $25 for rattlesnake only, $25 for chili only, and $35 for each individual meat entry. Call the Sweetwater Chamber of Commerce at (325) 235-5488 for additional information.
— Also held in conjunction with the Rattlesnake Round-Up Cook-Off on Saturday, March 9, at Newman Park will be the Sweetwater Jayteens Salsa Challenge and jalapeño popper contest. Proceeds will benefit local Jayteens projects.
— Persons may also visit the Wright's Amusement Carnival, which will be located northeast of the Nolan County Coliseum off FM 419 across from ADM Feed.
— There will also be bus tours, flea markets and guided hunting tours which cost $75 per person per day, which includes hunter registration.
Trophies and prize money will be awarded to the overall snake hunters based upon the total poundage of Western Diamondback Rattlesnakes turned into the Jaycees during Round-Up weekend. The 2012 winner for the most pounds was Andy Lee with 348 pounds.
Prizes will be a plaque and $900 for first place, a plaque and $800 for second place, a plaque and $700 for third place and plaques for fourth and fifth place.
An additional $400 will be paid to the person with the longest Western Diamondback turned into the Sweetwater Jaycees. A minimum of 100 pounds must be turned in to enter the Longest Snake Contest. The snake must be a Western Diamondback Rattlesnake. There will be a $500 prize awarded for a Sweetwater Jaycee Rattlesnake Round-Up record breaker. The longest snake recorded in 2012 was 73 inches long. Eric Timaeus won the honor.
The total snake poundage for the 2012 Round-Up was 1,664 pounds, while the 54-year total in the event's history is 307,095 pounds.