Snake handler loses leg to rattlesnake bite; Brownwood fundraiser being held

BROWNWOOD, Texas - Jackie Bibby loves his hobby so much that it cost him his leg.

Known as the Texas snake man, Bibby got bit by a rattlesnake on Sept. 12 during a show in front of hundreds of spectators.

It happened when he was handling one snake and didn't notice another rattler on the ground.

It bit him in the calf.

Now, Bibby needs a prosthetic leg that will cost about $50,000.

That's why long time friend and former member of the Brownwood Jaycees Pat McLaughlin has organized a fundraiser for Bibby.

"Jackie has helped bring lots of recognition to our program and help us do a lot in the community. We felt the necessity to jump in and help him," McLaughlin said.

The fundraiser will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday in the Hastings parking lot in Brownwood. Brisket sandwiches, chips, and a drink will be served for $6 for each plate. Snow cones are going to be available by donation

Bibby started his career at a Brownwood rattlesnake roundup 43 years ago.

"I entered a sacking contest. It was a timed event: who could put 10 rattlesnakes in a sack the fastest. The first time I ever got involved I won two trophies, $30, and I got my name in the paper, so I've been hooked ever since," Bibby said.

Being bit by rattlesnakes is not unfamiliar territory for the Rising Star native; he has been bitten 11 times, but he said he won't stop doing what he loves.

"Four out of 10 rattlesnake bites are what's known as a dry bite, you receive a puncture wound, but no envenomation. I've had several of those of course, but they did not require hospitalization," Bibby said.

Despite losing his leg, Bibby said he's never giving up his hobby.

"Like any other rodeo cowboy, you know, you've got to get back on the horse that bucked you off," Bibby said.

So what does scare Jackie Bibby if snakes don't do the trick?

"Women, that's about it! They've got me in more trouble than rattlesnakes ever did," Bibby said.

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