Wes Laird Scared Stiff |Rattlesnake
You may have noticed I only scanned one yearbook this weekend. I took
the weekend off and went to the Rattlesnake Rodeo in Opp, Alabama.
My friend Wes Laird was one of the organizers and invited Jilda and
I down. I was fascinated. The population of Opp which is a town of
6500 people, swelled to almost 20,000 for the rodeo.
There were arts and crafts, a car show, rides for the kids, snake
demonstrations and country music concerts. We had backstage passes
for the Blake Shelton and Sugarland concerts. It was an enjoyable
weekend. I love small town festivals and this one almost went by the
wayside. The organization that had sponsored the Rattlesnake Rodeo
| in Opp decided a few years ago to move the
festival to Andalusia which is a larger city in south Alabama. The
festival had dwindled down to almost nothing when Opp mayor H.D. Edgar
and other folks in Opp got the idea to move the festival back home
to Opp. They started planning about 3 months ago, they booked the
talent and then the festival grew.
This little town in south Alabama turned out in force and was a very
good experience. I wish we could get our towns to have some kind of
festival which could bring us all together for a celebration. I think
we could use one....not sure about rattlesnakes though, I watched
where I stepped all weekend. Click
here to go to the Rattlesnake Rodeo Website.
by Rick Watson
I think it was 1990, but I know it was April because the
azaleas were blooming. It had been warm early and a lot of flowers
and trees were tricked by mother nature. I had a training class
in Atlanta and I left before dawn heading East. The day before
had been warm and sunny and that evening when I drove down the
little road to our house, I noticed our neighbor had covered her
azaleas with sheets.
I thought to myself, there will be frost on my windshield in morning
and indeed there was.
I had my coffee with Jilda and was on the road before the roosters
It was an uneventful drive to Atlanta and my class was a good
one. I called Jilda at lunch to let her know I had made it to
the big city O. K. but when she answered, I
could tell that something was very wrong. She explained
Lilly Mae's Old Barn
Mae Hamrick, a neighbor that lived two doors down had been brutally
murdered. I heard the words, but it took a long time for them to
register.....Lilly Mae? I questioned. She was a widow and was 80
years old. Why would someone want to kill Lilly Mae. It simply would
not compute. It was her azaleas that I had noticed were covered
to prevent them from being killed by the frost.
Lilly Mae sold us the property on which our house now sits. The
old house and barn on our property were built by she and her husband.
I simply could not believe she had
The Walker County Sheriff had been going house to house to see if
anyone had any information. I cut my class short and came home because
at that point, we didn't know if some deranged drifter was still
One thing I do know is that someone came into our quite little community
and with one act of cowardice and brutality changed it forever.
Before that time, we had never bothered to lock our doors. We left
tools and other valuables unsecured. Those days were gone.
I thought that the authorities would round up the culprits and they
would pay. I thought wrong. Who ever did this managed to go unnoticed
and apparently didn't leave enough evidence for an arrest. I feel
like the sheriff and investigators did what they could do, but her
murderer remains at large.
I guess it will be written off as one of those unsolved mysteries.