As promised, I’m posting my favorite photos from the Rattlesnake hunt. I shot these on my Canon EOS 10S with a 35-135mm lens, and I have to say, I think I’m improving!
This warning sign is posted at various spots on the wall inside the Den of Death Snake Pit. It reads:
Warning! Snakehunt Fever. Very Contagious to a variety of humans. Symptoms: Continual complaint as to desire for sand, red-dirt, fresh air, and sunshine. Patient has a blank expression; and at times appears deaf to all. Has no taste for work of any kind, and can be found frequently pawing through camping gear and old Oklahoma maps. Yes, also hands out around reptile displays at local zoo. Makes secret phone calls at all hours; to “Snake Hunt” pals. Mumbles to self, repeating code words like – “Pit” “Beanfeed” & “Sahara”. There is no Known Cure…Medication is useless…Disease is not fatal… Treatment: Rush victim to “Waynoka Oklahoma Saddle Club” No later than noon the first Saturday – Right after Easter – Allow victim to feast on FREE ham, beans, cornbread and fix-uns, then let ‘em hunt them mean ole “Rattlesnakes” as their heart’s desire.
This was a big, fat rattlesnake. I like how the handler is considering the snake like it’s no big deal, and all these little girls are snapping photos on their cell phones. The dude is standing in a pit of snakes, by the way.
This is Floyd. Floyd and I hung out for quite some time on Saturday afternoon while Peter filmed inside the snake pit. Floyd said that the Waynoka Rattlesnake Hunt began way back in the 1940s, when a group of local ranchers decided to take up against the abundant Diamondback Rattlesnake population. The snakes were over-populated in the area, and killing lots of cows (and kids). They called themselves the Waynoka Saddle Club, and they’ve been doing this ever since. Floyd said that a company in Montana used to buy the snakes after the hunt for research & anti-venom creation. Now, the ones that don’t get eaten or purchased at the snake hunt are bought by a company in Texas that makes snakeskin boots, among other things.
There is a large faction of bikers who come to the snake hunt. So many, in fact, that they sponsor a bike rodeo. There were a lot of Harleys at the bike rodeo; even the bike rodeo emcee referenced the fact that there was probably a half million dollars’ worth of bikes there that day.
These bikers were characters! They were also very friendly; especially the guy in the above picture wearing a gentleman’s top hat. One of the spectators told me that the money from the bike rodeo goes to the local ABATE chapter, which uses the money to educate the public about motorcycles and to lobby the Oklahoma Legislature to prevent mandatory helmet laws.
This little boy was helping his mom sell raffle tickets. He’s not old enough to drive a motorcycle for several more years, but he’s already got his leather vest complete with USA & Confederate flag patches.
I parked my car here at the Waynoka Laundromat. I liked the way the place looked, so I snapped a picture to see if I could capture the feeling of it. I don’t think I succeeded to that end, unfortunately, but I still like the photo.
Edit: I changed the sizing of the photos to make them look less “squishy.”