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August 15, 2012

West Texas Rattlesnake Show Provides Entertainment With An Educational Twist

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – After 20 years in the business, Rattlesnake Dave Richardson has learned to “stay comfortably on my toes.”  With the help of his assistant, Cindy Bloom, Richardson, proprietor of the West Texas Rattlesnake Show, is not only entertaining, but also educating visitors to the 2012 Illinois State Fair. 

A four-foot-tall, glass, octagon enclosure is all that separates 14 Western Diamondback rattlesnakes, Rattlesnake Dave and his audience. He caught each of the snakes on his own in the wild.

Dave sticks his head into a burlap-lined, 30-gallon bucket filled with rattlers to begin the show, just so the audience can hear the quite distinctive “TITHTHTHTH” rattle. He then puts on his “Rattlesnake Gloves,” which are actually surgical gloves, before handling a five-foot rattler.  He explains that toxic chemicals in our sweat can be harmful to snakes. 
The Western Diamondback strikes at speeds of up to 150 miles an hour and can open its mouth a whopping 160 degrees.  Dave’s courage is proven when he pulls out, as he likes to term, “the world’s meanest rattlesnake” and carefully places him on an observation table with a special pare of snake- grabbing tongs.   True to its name, this little, two-foot, spit-fire struck and popped an inflated balloon quicker than a magician can pull a rabbit out of his hat.

Even though rattlesnake venom serum can sell for around a $1,000 a vial, Dave does not “milk” (extract venom) his snakes because milking a snake will eventually erupt the snake’s venom sacks.  “That sort of thing is not for me,” he said. 

He further explains if a rattler’s fang is broken in the wild, it can be replaced within two hours.  However, if the fang is pulled out, the snake will die instantly. 
Rattlesnake Dave performs daily in Happy Hollow at 11:30 a.m. and 1:50, 4:10 and 6:30 p.m.

Special Events Results

Pedal Tractor Pull

Class 1 (30-45 lbs.)
1. Lyla Repscher, Taylorville
2. Teyton Henkhaus, Alhambra
3. Audrey Broster, Mt. Carmel

Class 2 (46-60 lbs.)
1. Grant Holt, Clinton
2. Kreston Carter, Clinton
3. Dylan Zwilling, Fisher

Class 3 (61-80 lbs.)
1. Cole Chalmers, Oakford
2. Timyahs McEwen, Calumet City
3. Levi Hillis, Jerseyville

Cutest Little Farmer

Overall: Ellie Dyer, Springfield

Girls 2-3:
1. Julie Caskey, Springfield
2. Ella Terveer, Chenoa
3. Natalie Dennis, Waverly

Girls 4-5:
1. Emma Jean Lehnen, Springfield
2. Zoey Riley, Petersburg
3. Layna Beard, Springfield

Girls 6-7:
1. Jersey Halberg, Springfield
2. Hope Carroll, Athens

Girls 8-9:
1. Ellie Dyer, Springfield
2. Ellie Weatherall, Sprinfield
3. Kyleigh Heinzel, Lincoln

Boys 2-3:
1. Miles Johnson, Dayton, Ind.
2. Jimmy Osborn, Springfield
3. Kamdin Heinzel, Lincoln

Boys 4-5:
1. Jonah Wetherall, Springfield
2. Gavin Taylor, Springfield
3. Brock Dennis, Waverly

Boys 6-7:
1. Danny Dyer, Springfield



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