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Coronavirus Didn’t Stop This Texas Town From Holding Their Rattlesnake Roundup

If you’re into rattlesnakes and crowds, Sweetwater is the place to be. Normally, Sweetwater, Texas, is a tiny town of just under 11,000. But every year, over the second weekend in March, tens of thousands of people gather here for the “World’s Largest Rattlesnake Roundup” (the “World’s Largest” is part of the name), a multiday…

Coronavirus Didn’t Stop This Texas Town From Holding Their Rattlesnake Roundup

If you’re into rattlesnakes and crowds, Sweetwater is the place to be.

Normally, Sweetwater, Texas, is a tiny town of just under 11,000. But every year, over the second weekend in March, tens of thousands of people gather here for the “World’s Largest Rattlesnake Roundup” (the “World’s Largest” is part of the name), a multiday festival where you can pet a live rattlesnake, participate in snake-catching contests, watch the Miss Snake Charmer pageant, or just mill about the souvenir booths with your friends.

This year’s roundup, at the Nolan County Coliseum, was packed with locals and tourists who’d traveled from all over the country, and even internationally — even though the entire nation is experiencing a pandemic. And it’s not just hitting large cities like San Francisco and New York. On Friday, the Governor of Texas declared a state of emergency.

Even as large-scale events have been going dark all across the country, the Rattlesnake Roundup went on.

“This might be the biggest event happening in America, and that in itself is scary,” said Robb McCann, who handles PR for the event. “That’s something that we’re taking very, very seriously. There’s a lot of eyes on us.”

If community spread were to happen, places like Sweetwater would be especially vulnerable. Texas has had more rural hospital closures than any other state.

READ: Top Coronavirus Task Force Expert Says Please, *Please*, Stop Socializing

But, McCann argued, canceling the event would have long-term effects on the community. “This event brings $8.4 million to this economy in one week.”

Three miles away from the festival grounds, Rolling Plains Memorial is the only hospital in the county. CEO Donna Boatright says that her facility could handle up to three serious cases of coronavirus, and that they have been taking precautions, including limiting visitors and setting up a community hotline.

VICE News spent a weekend in Sweetwater as the community weighed the risks of large events with the risk of economic impact.

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Federal judge rules Cuccinelli appointment unlawful

Because Cuccinelli’s USCIS position was designated initially as “first assistant” to the USCIS director, the Trump administration reasoned that Cuccinelli could become acting chief under a provision of the 1998 Federal Vacancies Reform Act. But Moss wrote th…

Federal judge rules Cuccinelli appointment unlawful

Because Cuccinelli’s USCIS position was designated initially as “first assistant” to the USCIS director, the Trump administration reasoned that Cuccinelli could become acting chief under a provision of the 1998 Federal Vacancies Reform Act.
But Moss wrote th…
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The fighter pilot takes on the astronaut: McSally’s 2020 Arizona mission

In Gilbert, a town of more than 200,000 people outside Phoenix, McSally satdown to talk local issues with the mayor outside a bustling coffee shop in the mild winter warmth before taking a walking tour of the small downtown, hitting up a few local spots to ha…

The fighter pilot takes on the astronaut: McSally’s 2020 Arizona mission

In Gilbert, a town of more than 200,000 people outside Phoenix, McSally satdown to talk local issues with the mayor outside a bustling coffee shop in the mild winter warmth before taking a walking tour of the small downtown, hitting up a few local spots to ha…
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Italy Set to Approve $442 Million Loan to Keep Alitalia Flying

Italy Set to Approve $442 Million Loan to Keep Alitalia Flying

Italy Set to Approve $442 Million Loan to Keep Alitalia Flying
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