Rattlesnake-Sacker Competes, Wins Yet Again
ALISON STEWART, host:
Last week in the show, a Texas man by the name of Jackie Bibby gave as an education in the sport of rattlesnake-sacking. Ten snakes, two men, one sack. Bibby holds the world record. He flung ten snakes into a sack in just over 17 seconds.
RACHEL MARTIN, host:
Saturday and Sunday were the National Rattlesnake-Sacking Championships in Taylor, Texas, and Bibby told us he didn't know if he was going to compete this year. He didn't have anything left to prove.
Maybe he was a little too old, maybe a little wide at the belt, shall we say? But maybe the heat of competition would take over and he'd jump in. So, we called up Jackie Bibby to hear what happened once the snakes were down. Mr. Bibby?
Mr. JACKIE BIBBY (Rattlesnake-Sacker Champion): Good morning.
MARTIN: Good morning, sir. Thanks for coming back to be on the show. We appreciate it.
Mr. BIBBY: Always a pleasure to visit with you guys.
MARTIN: Jackie, how did it go down? You showed up at the event and you were on the...
Mr. BIBBY: The building got to pumping and those youngsters, you know, running around with their chests puffed out, I had to get in there and show them the old mater was still able to come back.
STEWART: You do it.
MARTIN: Were they really egging you on? Or did you just say, I can't tolerate these egos?
Mr. BIBBY: Not necessarily. They really didn't want me to sack because they knew I'd probably beat them.
MARTIN: So let's talk about what happened. You teamed up with your old partner, Ken Garret. What was your strategy? Or do you guys know each other so well that you just - you don't have to talk about it, you just say, let's do this, Ken?
Mr. BIBBY: You really don't have to strategize. We've been doing it - Ken and I have been sacking together for over 20 years, and you know, I've been involved in this competition for 40 years, so you know, we know pretty much what to do and how to do it. So, we just got in there and got with it.
MARTIN: Now just as a reminder, for folks who didn't get a chance to hear our other interview with you previously, the competition you have to - the whole gist of it is you have to take ten snakes. They're put on the ground.
You have to grab them really quick without getting bitten and put them into a bag that your partner is holding - holding the sack. Now your time was, in this competition, I understand, was 37 seconds?
Mr. BIBBY: Thirty-three was my average. What you do, you go three go rounds throughout the course of the weekend, and you draw for positions. So there's a certain amount of strategy involved in that, or luck of the draw, I might say.
And then you go three go-arounds, and they throw out your worst time and average your two best times, and that's what you have the competition based on. My aggregate time was just over 33 seconds.
MARTIN: And you were the one who was - Ken was holding the sack. You were actually grabbing the snakes, right?
Mr. BIBBY: That's right. Yeah, now Ken and I go both ways, but he had a pretty rough year. Like any other timed event, there's a great deal of luck involved because the snakes that you draw can have a big dramatic impact on how well you do, and he had some snakes that didn't cooperate very well. They ran on him real bad, and he had some rough ends.
MARTIN: Snakes with attitude.
Mr. BIBBY: So, he didn't place in the top three, which we were amazed about, because that's the first time in 17 years he hasn't been in the top three.
MARTIN: Now, your record though, in this competition, is 17 seconds, right?
Mr. BIBBY: That is correct. Yeah, 17.11.
MARTIN: So, you are getting a little slow, Jackie?
Mr. BIBBY: Well, there's only been two times - this competition's been in existence for 41 years. There've only been two times turned in under 20 seconds, so the time that I turned in 17, that was somewhat of a fluke.
MARTIN: And who placed second in the competition?
Mr. BIBBY: Shawn Jonas.
MARTIN: And is he someone - is he a long-time rival?
Mr. BIBBY: He's been sacking a long time. He's a friend of mine. We're all friends. There's so very few of us that participate in the sport we all know each other quite well.
MARTIN: Now, I want to talk about some things that we didn't get a chance to discuss last week. You are involved with snakes in a lot of other ways. It's not just the snake-sacking competition. You actually hold other snake related world records, correct?
Mr. BIBBY: Yes, ma'am. I've been in the Guinness Book of World Records since 1999. That was the first year I ever got in the Guinness Book, and you know, I do hold five world records. Only two or three are recognized by Guinness, but I'm in the Guinness Book virtually every year.
MARTIN: Now, I'm just going to name a few of these titles that you hold. "Most snakes suspended by tales in mouth."
Mr. BIBBY: Yes.
MARTIN: "Most snakes surrounding you while you sit in a bathtub," and you hold the title for something that has to do with you in a sleeping bag with a lot of rattlesnakes?
Mr. BIBBY: Yes.
MARTIN: Now, there are a lot of things to discuss in this conversation, but let's just drill down a little bit on the snakes in the mouth competition. Why in the world, Mr. Bibby, would you ever want to put a snake in your mouth?
Mr. BIBBY: Just to prove that I can, and also to get in the Guinness Book of World Records.
MARTIN: But you could eat like a lot of peanut butter sandwiches to get in the Guinness Book of World Records, or do a lot of other things. Are you not a little scared about putting a rattlesnake in your mouth?
Mr. BIBBY: No, I've been doing it for quite awhile. The first time I ever did it was on the "Jay Leno Show" several years ago, and I'm constantly talking with individuals about, well, what can you do? Can you do this? Can you do that? The guy - the producer of the show actually asked me if I could put snakes in my pants. I said, well, no, I don't think so.
STEWART: Excuse me?
Mr. BIBBY: But I said I did. On the "Maury Povich Show" one time, put a snake in my mouth. He said, you did? And I said yeah, we put the tail in my mouth and I held onto the snake like that. He said, well, how many can you put in your mouth? I said, well, I'm not sure. He said, well, do me a video and send it to me, and let me see what you can do.
So I got six in my mouth, sent him the video, and he said, yeah, we want you on the "Leno Show." So, I went out and did "Leno," and it was a lot of fun, had a great time, and then after that, everybody was really excited about - well, this snakes in the mouth, it's a very powerful visual, you know...
MARTIN: Yes, I might imagine that it is. You have a lot of snakes in you.
Mr. BIBBY: There's a certain amount of yuck factor involved in it when you got a bunch of snakes hanging out of your mouth by their tails, so it become quite popular then, and so I've been doing it now for several years. The last two years on Guinness World Records Day, which is every November.
Guinness World Records has a designed day when a lot of people set world records. I got the opportunity to do that stunt, and every time I go up one more snake, I always get a trip for a new record, or some kind of something out of it. So, I started doing it with six. Now last year in November, I did 11 up in New York City for Guinness World Records.
MARTIN: Well, Jackie Bibby, thank you very much for exploring the world of snakes in a way that I have not done before. I imagine not many people in our audience have either, and congratulations on your win over the weekend! That's great news. Jackie Bibby holds several world records and several - has held several rattlesnakes in his mouth at a time. Sir, thanks, and I hope to talk to you again.
Mr. BIBBY: Thank you very much. It's always a pleasure. If anyone wants to check out my website, it's texsnakeman.com.
MARTIN: OK, we'll link to that on our website. Take care.
Mr. BIBBY: Thank you, bye-bye.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.