Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Nov. 18, 2003 05:00 PM
WHISKEY FLATS, Texas - It was sunny and cool Tuesday - a perfect day to jam nine rattlesnakes into your mouth.
With the nine snakes, Jackie Bibby bested his own world record of eight.
Tom Pennington/Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Jackie "The Snakeman" Bibby performs his nine-snake stunt Tuesday.
"I have to break my own records. Heck, there's nobody else who can do it," said Bibby, who works in marketing for a drug treatment center. "I think I could do 12 or 13, but probably no more. My mouth is only so big."
Bibby, 52, said he wouldn't do any more than nine Tuesday. He needs to give himself some room to best himself.
He has performed snake stunts for TV shows and at other events where he gets paid, but this time it wasn't for money.
"I'm doing it for the prestige, the glory and the attention," he said.
This time, it also was for the 50th anniversary Guinness World Records, which is due out in September. The Guinness people sent a photographer to record the event.
Once the cameras were ready, Bibby quickly banded the snakes together by their rattles and wedged them into his mouth. He leaned forward from the waist and held still for 10 seconds.
For the record to be official, Bibby said each snake has to be at least 26 or 27 inches long. Each weighs at least 1.5 pounds.
"There's nothing to it," said Bibby, who admits to being bitten six times in 34 years of snake handling.
The only difficult part is the leaning forward.
"I've got about 15 pounds of snake in my mouth and it hurts my lower back to lean forward," he said.
The record was set in a field behind Bibby's double-wide in Whiskey Flats, a community about 25 miles southwest of Fort Worth.
Bibby was to be assisted by four fellow rattlesnake handlers, but one of the assistants, Britt Stevens of Brownwood, was en route to the hospital for anti-venin at show time.
"He'll be OK. He's not going to die," said snake handler Doug Dugger of Waco. "He's just a little accident-prone."
Bibby's other helpers included Robert Ackerman, a construction superintendent from Taylor in Central Texas, and Michael Herzog, an equipment operator from Tarrant County in North Texas.
Each has been handling rattlesnakes for decades and they have the scars to prove it.
They said they started doing it to get women.
"We used to have groupies," Ackerman said.
"Yeah, women like crazy men," Dugger said.
On Tuesday, they had no groupies - just 100 or so hissing snakes.
Bibby had planned to break another of his records by sitting in a bathtub with more than 81 snakes, but the snakes wouldn't cooperate and Bibby had to quit after only about 40 were dumped on him.
Bibby said he plans to keep some of the snakes.
Vickie Morgan, Bibby's longtime girlfriend and a fellow snake handler, said they often keep several dozen snakes in their double-wide.
"People say it's weird, but it's only weird because we're poor. If we were rich, we'd just be eccentric," she said.
Bibby said he will sell or trade some of the snakes he doesn't need. Some of the bigger ones will be chopped up, dipped in cornmeal and fried.
"It tastes just like chicken," Bibby said.
And i thought the christian snake handler's were crazy.