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53rd Annual Waurika Rattlesnake Hunt and Festival

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WAURIKA, Okla_This weekend is the fifty third annual Waurika Rattlesnake Hunt and Festival.  There are carnival games and the good eats that come along with it, but the real attraction are the snakes.

The annual event is expected to attract thousands of curious  people looking for a chance to see brave souls catch some rattlesnakes. We've all been to carnivals and festivals, but this one is different.

Michael Delaney, who is a volunteer with the Waurika Volunteer Fire Department explained, "This is to benefit the Waurika Fire Department. This is our annual budget, this is how we repair trucks and basically live off of."

There were plenty of snakes to go around. "We got well over 6,000 snakes here this year," said Delaney. You could touch them, you could watch people catch them, and you could even eat them.

Dustin Eason is with the Fangs and Rattlers Association.  They're the ones who put on the Thrill Show.  He likes to well get in the pit and play with the snakes. It is quite the show.  But it is not all about the thrill, it's about safety, and how to protect yourself if you ever encounter the rattler or any snake.

Eason said, "If we could teach one person out of a hundred people in each show, if we could teach one person, then we did a good job."

The proceeds may go to help the Waurika Fire Department, but it also helps with the supply of anti-venom.  Delaney said, "We use every part of the snake. We extract the venom to make anti-venom. We have a guy that purchases our snakes, once we are done with them at the festival. He takes them for science research and continues making anti venom."

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