Big ones… Little ones… Rattle, rattle… Fat ones… Skinny ones… Rattle, rattle…
All sizes and colors of rattlesnakes went into the tub Monday morning with Jackie Bibby, a.k.a. the Texas Snake Man.
And, once again, he broke his own world record as he sat with 87 snakes slithering all over him in the clear acrylic tub, beating his previous Ripley's record by three. The event held in front of Dublin Dr Pepper attracted lots of attention including a camera crew from “20-20.”
First, Bibby and his snake buddies from the Heart of Texas Snake Club assessed the temperament of each snake and those that were too aggressive went right back in the storage containers.
Then, Bibby had his ankles duct taped together so he could relax his legs without moving. Derek Musso, Guinness World Record representative, began counting.
Some couldn't look as the snakes were dropped slowly in the tub, one or two and sometimes three at a time. Some covered their faces with their hands but still peeped through their fingers.
A shriek could be heard here and there in the crowd as some of the snakes tried to escape their boundaries on the red brick street. Rattle, rattle…
Bibby asked photographers and members of the media crouched close to the tub not to move too quickly.
“Movement is what scares the snakes,” Bibby said.
At about number 70, Bibby removed his black derby and asked the handlers to put a snake in each hand and on top of his head. He ended up with only one in his hand and one on his head. The third snake for the other hand was not cooperative and would not remain coiled.
At one point, Bibby asked the helpers to hurry and get on with getting the remainder of the snakes in the tub with him.
One handler joked that it was time to go lunch and they'd see him when they returned.
“I guess I'm not going anywhere,” Bibby joked back.
A reporter asked why he continues to break his own records.
“That's just what we as record holders do,” Bibby said. “We're adrenaline junkies. We have to press the envelope.”
Someone else asked if there would be 100 next time.
“I always leave myself a little room,” Bibby said. “There's still a little more room in the bathtub.”
Bibby has already expanded his stunt since the first time he performed it on the TV show Guinness Prime Time. The first tub stunt had just a measly 35 snakes.
Today, Bibby and 20 rattlesnakes are on their way to New York City for the next record-breaking attempt. While there, Bibby will try to dangle 11 snakes from his mouth to break last year's record of 10.
Bibby is no stranger to the limelight and has appeared in several movies and television shows. He freely admits to not being camera shy. He loves the attention.
He signed autographs and posed for pictures for anyone that asked, and it was clear that the audience loved the thrill seeking Texas Snake Man.
ANGELIA JOINER is a staff writer for the Empire-Tribune. She can be reached at email@example.com or 254-965-3124, ext. 238.