NEWS OF THE WEIRD

Rattlesnake Charmer

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The beauty pageant each April at the Rattlesnake Roundup in Sweetwater, Texas, requires traditional skills like interview poise, evening-gown fashion and talent, but also some ability and inclination to milk and skin rattlers. High school senior Kyndra Vaught won this year's Miss Snake Charmer, wearing jeweled boots one night for her country-Western ballad, then Kevlar boots and camouflage chaps the next as she took on dozens of rattlers in the wooden snake pit. Vaught expertly held up one serpent, offered its tail-end rattles for a baby to touch, then helped hold, measure, milk and skin a buzzing, slithery serpent. A Los Angeles Times dispatch noted that Vaught hoped to be on her way soon to Boston's Berklee College of Music.

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