Tragic! Rattlesnake Bite Kills Handler at Freer, Texas Rattlesnake Round-up
Tragedy strikes in the small Texas town of Freer, as Eugene De Leon Sr. was bitten by one of his rattlesnakes and would later die.
Freer, Texas is about an hour and a half west of Corpus Christi and is home to just under 2,500 people, according to the 2020 census. Freer is known for two things:
1. The first oil well in Texas was drilled in Freer in 1860.
2. Freer is home to the annual Rattlesnake Round-up, also known as a rattlesnake rodeo.
Rattlesnakes are a part of life in that hot and dry area of Texas, and the annual Rattlesnake Round-up there is one way locals can buy, sell, and trade their abundant resource - rattlesnakes. The Rattlesnake Round-up is Freer's biggest festival and features live music, food (including, of course, snake meat) and lots and lots of rattlesnakes.
Eugene De Leon Sr.
Eugene De Leon Sr. had a passion for rattlesnakes and had over 20 years of experience handling them. De Leon Sr. was bitten by one of his snakes while performing in front of an audience on Saturday, and would unfortunately die from the bite later that day.
Freer Police Chief Hector Doria confirmed the news that De Leon was bitten in the shoulder at about 1pm and was flown to a Corpus Christi hospital by helicopter. He passed away around 9pm that night.
De Leon's sister, Monica Dimas, took to Facebook to announce the news,
As you probably know, a rattlesnakes bite only takes between 6 and 48 hours to kill someone. If antivenom treatment is given within two hours of the bite, the probability of recovery is greater than 99%.
According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, about 7,000 people are bitten by venomous snakes each year in the U.S. Only one or two people a year die from snake bites in Texas, so the odds of being bitten and dying are low for most of us.