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Visiting the Mangum Rattlesnake Derby

Each week, Gadling is taking a look at our favorite festivals around the world. From music festivals to cultural showcases to the just plain bizarre, we hope to inspire you to do some festival exploring of your own. Come back each Wednesday for our picks or find them all HERE.

Each Spring, avid rattlesnake hunters and handlers gather in Mangum, Oklahoma for the annual Mangum Rattlesnake Derby. The event began in 1966 when the Shortgrass Rattlesnake Association organized the first weekend-long derby to hunt, measure and cook the reptiles. Each year, a crowd of approximately 30,000 hunters and spectators gathers to take part.

The Mangum Rattlesnake Derby, held near the end of April, includes a wide range of snake-related activities, music, contests and food. Visitors come to watch snake handlers, eat at the "Bite-A-Snake Cafe" or enter the snake pit and try to find the longest "rattler" and win the derby. There's also carnival rides, one of the largest flea markets in the state, live music by regional musicians and a royalty contest.

Want to know more about this crazy snake shindig in Southern Oklahoma? Keep reading below.

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