Beauty Queens Playing With Rattlesnake Guts: USA! USA! USA!

May 6, 2013 | Julia Dawidowicz

Every March, some 40,000 people flock to Sweetwater, Texas to drink, party, BBQ, and cheerfully jostle with snake guts. Founded in 1958 to control Nolan County’s snake population, The World’s Largest Rattlesnake Roundup has become a raucous snake killin’ extravaganza, with a 3-day lineup that includes mass organized snake hunts, dismembering and skinning workshops, plenty of fried rattlesnake, a Miss Snakecharmer Pageant, and of course, a Gun Knife & Coin Show.

23-year old Kentuckian David Kasnic decided to document the slaughter-fest, and the resulting photo series is mind blowing. Sweetwater is more than artfully composed shots of gore and cowgirl boots: it captures White America at its finest, apparently without judgment.

“It’s not everyday that you see nine-year olds skinning rattlesnakes or beauty queens making hand prints on a wall with snake blood,” Kasnic told Wired. “I kept thinking about all the reasons the event was … well … messed up. But then a conversation with one of the event organizers changed my mind. He said, ‘We’re Country, but we’re not stupid. We understand that people not from the area look at us in a not-so-good light, but they just don’t get it. This is our thing.’ That really stuck with me.”