CHATHAM —To be a good snake grabber, you have to be quick and fearless — or else they will slither away.
Both Kolby Cox and Price Dickerson understand this well. The two were, perhaps, the biggest standouts at the Grabuone Outfitters Inc. Snake Grabbin’ Rodeo at Lake Washington this past weekend.
Cox, 22, caught around 20 snakes for his team to help them take home the top prize. Cox’s 20 snakes were half the amount of his entire team.
Cox describes his strategy like this.
Once he gets out of his boat, he sneaks up on the snakes in the shallow water. When he sees a snake, he does not hesitate for a moment.
Despite having a number of snake bites on his arms and wrists, Cox said he was never scared.
“I have been doing this for a while, and I know they are not going to really hurt you,” Cox said.
Dickerson, meanwhile, may not have caught as many snakes as Cox, but the diamondback water snake he caught was one of the biggest and best looking snakes caught at the event. At the end of the competition, each team brought their snakes back to the pavilion at Roy’s Store in Chatham where an overflow crowd oohed and aahed as the competitors put their snakes into barrels for the count. No roar was bigger than when Dickerson took out his big diamondback water snake and wrapped it around his neck.
"This was one of the bigger ones I have caught,” said Dickerson, from Madison. “I just knew what type of snake it was, and I knew that getting bit by this type wouldn’t hurt that much.”
While Cox and Dickerson say they have no fear, there was danger involved. One participant in the event did get bitten by a poisonous water moccasin on the arm and had to be taken to a Greenville hospital.
On Monday, event organizer Jimmie Nichols said the man who was bitten by the poisonous snake is doing much better and should make a full recovery.
“That is very rare for that to happen,” Nichols said. “It might have only happened like once before.”
The Snake Grabbin’ Rodeo was a full-day event. Those participating in the event went out on the lake at 10 a.m. and then brought their boats back to Roy’s Store four hours later for the snake count. After the snake counting, the rest of the day was filled with down home country fun with a rodeo concert in the evening.
Each year the rodeo raises money for a law enforcement officer who is in need. Proceeds from this year’s event will go to police officer Corey Ray, of Madison, who has recently been going through many severe health issues.
“We had one of the best ever turnouts for the rodeo,” Nichols said.