While some residents cringe at the idea of being near rattlesnakes, Brownwood Jaycee Patrick McLaughlin doesn’t feel that way at all since he and his sister, Ashley, grew up going to the Lone Star Fair and Expo Rattlesnake Roundup.
“With my dad organizing the roundup for so long, we’ve always been around helping,” McLaughlin said. “I was probably around 10 years old when I started helping more than just running around.”
McLaughlin is just one of the 15 new members who revived the Brownwood chapter of the Jaycees and have been working together to present the 49th Lone Star Fair and Expo Rattlesnake Roundup set to open Friday. For the last several years, McLaughlin’s father has kept the roundup going while membership was low.
“Now that I’m officially part of the planning, things aren’t that different,” McLaughlin said. “We’ve always been in the mix of helping over the years.”
While the new members have been planning the roundup, McLaughlin wants to assure everyone this year’s event will be no different than last year. Residents will have a chance to enjoy fried rattlesnake, the longest rattlesnake contest and several craft and food vendors.
“My dad, along with the other former Jaycees, have been great in helping us,” McLaughlin said. “The only problem I hope we have is a parking problem.”
The three-day event will mark the return of Jackie Bibby, who has been recovering since a Western Diamondback rattlesnake bit him on Sept. 12, 2012, which led doctors to amputate his right leg.
“Jackie will be back and he will be performing a few stunts on Saturday and Sunday,” McLaughlin said.
New to this year’s event is a rattlesnake-drawing contest for students in kindergarten through third grade. For the contest, students must draw a rattlesnake, cowboy or cowgirl on the entry form. Entry forms are available at East Elementary, Woodland Heights Elementary and inside the office at Heartland Mall. All drawings must be completed and turned in by 8 p.m. Saturday at the Brownwood Jaycees’ booth at the roundup.
“We wanted to get kids involved in the roundup,” said McLaughlin. “This is just the first of many additions we want to add to the roundup.”
With next year being the 50th year the roundup has been held, McLaughlin and the other members of the Jaycees have already started planning for the milestone anniversary.
“Growing up, I remember having so much fun at roundup,” McLaughlin said. “Back then, there was a carnival and a dance. We’re working on bringing those items back in the upcoming years.”
According to McLaughlin, the Jaycees are planning for a carnival and a St. Patrick’s themed parade for next year’s event.
“You know St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland,” McLaughlin said. “By chance, our event always lands close to St. Patrick’s Day.”
The 49th Lone Star Fair and Expo Rattlesnake Roundup will open from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $3 for adults and $2 for children.
McLaughlin also noted that volunteer opportunities are available for this weekend’s event and encourages anyone interested to contact him.
For more information about the Brownwood Jaycees or Rattlesnake Roundup, contact McLaughlin at (325) 642-6809.