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From the Archives: 'Snakes alive': Annual rattlesnake roundup culls hundreds of rattlers

From the Archives: 'Snakes alive': Annual rattlesnake roundup culls hundreds of rattlers
March 27, 1979: Mike Faulkner, organizer of the 17th annual Big Springs Jaycee Rattlesnake roundup in Texas, holds a diamondback rattler. (Bill Varie / Los Angeles Times)

These three images by staff photographer Bill Varie appeared in the April 15, 1979, Los Angeles Times. The extended caption reported:

Jaycees in Big Spring, Texas, paid citizens $2.75 a pound for rattlesnakes during the annual March roundup to rid the area of snakes. Just coming out of hibernation, 1,000 of the lethargic varmints were collected in the pit (above), where Mike Faulkner, organizer of the roundup, who was clad in leg guards, showed the proper way to handle a diamondback. A plexiglass window in the pit allowed Kimberly Evans, 8, to sneer in safety at one of the rattlers. After being collected, the snakes were milked for their venom for use in antivenin serum and in research. Then some were killed and cooked as part of the menu for the weekend celebration. Others were sold for research.

March 27, 1979: Kimberly Evans, 8, of Big Spring, Texas, sits safely behind a plexiglass window watching diamondback rattlesnakes during the annual Jaycees roundup.
March 27, 1979: Kimberly Evans, 8, of Big Spring, Texas, sits safely behind a plexiglass window watching diamondback rattlesnakes during the annual Jaycees roundup. (Bill Varie / Los Angeles Times)
March 27, 1979: A rattlesnake is milked for its venom during the annual snake roundup in Big Spring, Texas.
March 27, 1979: A rattlesnake is milked for its venom during the annual snake roundup in Big Spring, Texas. (Bill Varie / Los Angeles Times)
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