Thomasville Times Enterprise

January 23, 2014

New-look roundup

Patti Dozier

THOMASVILLE — For more than half a century, Whigham’s annual Rattlesnake Roundup featured a snake ring where the serpents were on display and milked for their venom.

Things will be a little different at Saturday’s 54th annual Roundup.

Snake hunters will continue to deliver their finds and be rewarded for their efforts. A reptile program — new to the event — will be presented at the pavilion on Roundup grounds on U.S. 84.

Rebecca Tucker will present reptile programs at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m.

Beginning in 1962, Tom and Mary Ann Yarbrough, Tucker’s parents, presented a live reptile program throughout the southeastern United States at schools, libraries, corporations, clubs and organizations and as safety programs at businesses. Presented on a level for all ages, thousands of people witnessed the educational and entertaining programs.

After the deaths of the Yarbroughs, their daughter, Tucker, continued the family legacy.

The Saturday program will include:

• How to identify venomous and non-venomous reptiles

• How to be safe when encountering reptiles in the wild

• Discussions about common myths and misconceptions regarding snakes and other reptiles

• Instructions on correct first-aid treatment for a snake bite

Each presentation is a live, approximately 50-minute exhibition. Venomous snakes, such as rattlesnakes, cottonmouths and copperheads, will be shown, along with non-venomous reptiles, many native to this area.

Other reptiles that are a part of the presentation include exotic reptiles from around the world, such as lizards, tortoises, turtles and giant snakes.

“People start coming in about 8 (a.m.,),” said Greg Ponder, president of the Whigham Community Club, Roundup sponsor. The event ends about 4 p.m.

More than 12,000 people are expected to attend the Saturday Roundup.

First-, second- and third-place prizes will be awarded to hunters who deliver the most rattlers to the event. A prize also will be presented for the largest rattlesnake.

About 15 food vendors will be at the Roundup, along with 85 other vendors selling a variety of goods, including crafts.

The zip line will return, and animal rides will be available.

Ponder said dogs will not be allowed at this year’s Roundup.

Proceeds from the Roundup fund community projects, particularly Whigham School functions and the Whigham Boy Scout troop.

Senior reporter Patti Dozier can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1820.