Forecast good for weekend’s Rattlesnake Rodeo

Published 1:08 am Wednesday, March 20, 2019

As the weather goes, so goes the Rattlesnake Rodeo, organizers say. If the forecast is correct, it should be a good year for the annual event.

“We think that we are going to have a good turnout this weekend,” organizer Don Childre said. “We have gotten a good response mostly because of the weather this weekend. When the weather is forecasted to be good, people tend to come out.”

Related: Letter: No-catch festival in Opp rodeo’s future

Every year, Childre said that he tries to get 50 rattlesnakes for the rodeo.

“We set a limit on the snake hunting so we don’t mess with the rattlesnake population,” Childre said. “For every 7,500 miles we get one snake, and that is only across five counties. Right now, we have 40 right now and should be getting a couple more before Saturday. It really depends on the weather.”

Childre said that usually they return the small snakes where they collected them.

“We try and return a lot of the small ones,” Childre said. “And people always get upset because they say we have to get them exactly where we collected them or they will try to find their home and get run over in the road or something. We never hunt in the same spot so we can always make sure we don’t mess up the population of snakes and it’s not like we have 100 people out there looking for snakes. We usually only have four or five guys.”

Childre said that they do not kill any of the snakes that they collect.

“All of the meat that we get comes from a company in Texas,” Childre said. “We get 200 pounds of meat and they raise the snakes commercially for that.”

The weather plays a huge factor in the success of the rodeo, Childre said.

“The weather is the determining factor,” Childre said. “In the years past, if we have good weather starting Wednesday, then we will have a good showing. We are doing a lot to get the word out that it is this weekend. Like we went to Dothan and talked about it and we are going to Montgomery this week as well to talk to WSFA. This event does so much for the community. I mean double the population of Opp comes to support this event.”

Childre said that more than 200 volunteers help make the event run smoothly.

“We have a great group of volunteers that come out and make the event run well,” Childre said. “We also have arts, crafts, blow up slides and several things for the kids that come. We will have a zipline that is the length of the stadium for the kids to get on and it is just a great event to showcase a lot of local talent. Martin McDaniel is coming back and he will probably bring a crowd with him.”

Opp Mayor Becky Bracke said that Opp is known nationwide for the Rattlesnake Rodeo and that she is excited about this year’s event.

“This brings so many people to our city,” Bracke said. “No matter where you go, you can go out to California and Opp, Alabama is known for our rattlesnakes. It is a big thing for our community economically as well. Our convenient stores and hotels will tell you that there is a huge increase in sales during the Rattlesnake Rodeo. We hope to have a huge crowd on both days.”

Advanced tickets for the weekend are $10 per day and can only be purchased at Opp City Hall.

Tickets at the gate are $15 per day.

The forecast for Saturday, as of yesterday, is partly cloudy, with the high being 74 degrees and the low being 46 degrees. There is a 10 percent chance of rain on Saturday.

On Sunday, the forecast is partly cloudy, with the high being 77 degrees and the low being 53 degrees. There is zero percent chance of rain on Sunday.