The Texas Snakeman is a staple at the Rattlesnake Round Up. Many in attendance come to the round up just to have the opportunity to see the Texas Snakeman, Jackie Bibby in action.
Bibby, best known for his ability to handle and perform stunts with the venomous rattle snakes, began his act in 1969, when he competed and won in a rattlesnake competition. He received $30, had his name in the paper and was awarded two trophies, which he still has to this day.
Now, Bibby has hundreds of trophies and is well known throughout the world. He has travelled extensively throughout the globe, been in movies and on television. To name a few accomplishments, he has visited Europe 14 times, travelled throughout the United States, appeared on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and has a popular reality show on Animal Planet , “Rattlesnake Republic.”
His shows at the Rattlesnake Round Up include a stunt where he gets into a sleeping bag with rattle snakes, both feet first and head first. Bibby, also holds world records for stunts like holding 13 rattlesnakes by the tail with his mouth.
“Its all dangerous, but we try to do it in a safe way and keep it entertaining and funny,” said Bibby about his stunts.
On September 12, 2012, Bibby was bit by one of the rattlesnakes as he was performing a less dangerous and fairly routine stunt. He was walking around the snake pit holding a snake on a pinner, showing him to the audience. Bibby got too close to a six-foot rattlesnake in the pit and received the bite to his right calf, above his protective boot.
The bite was severe and Bibby was rushed to Parkland Memorial Hospital and went straight into surgery. The next day, doctors approached Bibby with the possibility of losing his right leg. Doctors attempted to save the leg below the knee, but the venom had spread and infected too much of the leg and they had to amputate above the knee.
Since, Bibby has been recovering from the bite and amputation. The incident has made Bibby alter his show to some degree, but has mostly changed the way he performs stunts.
“I had to adjust some things in handling them, but its all been possible,” said Bibby.
Recent events haven’t deterred Bibby from doing what he loves. He said the payoff for him is the excitement, the attention he receives from the audience, the people he gets to meet and the places he gets to go.
“We hope everyone will come out (to the Rattlesnake Round Up) and have a great time. This will be the 49th and I’ve been there since nearly the beginning, for 43 of them,” said Bibby.
Bibby’s successful television show will begin filming season three in April. The air date will be released later this year.