Across the street from the bank and flanking the highway as it reaches town, Apache's Chamber of Commerce also supports the town hall and police department (and perhaps provides the only public payphone in town). Both buildings are from the town's heyday (the early 1920s) and together shoulder the town's main road.
Located on the corner overlooking the crossroads of town, this bank building is a typical structure familiar to many Oklahoma towns. Built of stone rather than brick and boasting a bartizan tower, the bank finds an almost mirror image across the street in what is now the town hall and chamber of commerce.
The southwestern quarter of Oklahoma is home to a few venomous snakes, but the most prevalent is the western diamondback. The venom from this pit viper differs slightly from that of the timber rattlesnake, which means that the poisons attack different systems, either the muscles or the nerves. Either way, a single bite is generally not fatal but enough to make you wish to reverse time. Bites occur only seldom but don't be a part of the statistics.
Hunts during the roundup are scheduled twice daily. Registration (at the time of this writing) costs $5, but you have to register at least thirty minutes before the hunt. As a public service, the removal of rattlesnakes from human habitations and recreational outlets is an annual theme, but make sure you have sturdy leather boots. The area where the hunts are conducted is generally rocky with several types of cactus. If the quills of the latter penetrate your boots, you can assume that a snake's fangs can do the same.
Outside the building that houses the snake pit, vendors sell actual rattlesnake portions. For $2.50 you get a "portion" the size of a chicken breast, but there is usually more meat on a stick of chewing gum. What's worse, the serving is generally deep-fat fried, meaning that breading makes up a third of your "portion." After that, you sink your teeth into the vertebrae before realizing that the "portion" is not a fillet, nor is the "portion" exceptionally meaty. The flavor is not bad but the flesh is somewhat elastic, and the more you fight with the bones the less you wish to continue.
Near the main grandstand, visitors can have their portraits taken with a live rattlesnake (defanged, of course). The cost is $5, for which you get to wreath your neck with the poor snake to earn a "certificate of bravery." I know not where the proceeds go, but this seems the only way to get close and personal with an animal that would otherwise return your caresses with a kiss you would remember forever.
Favorite thing: Though I generally despise such markets as I despise the state fair, thousands flock to such events annually (and many travel over 100 miles to attend, for reasons which I myself cannot pretend to understand). During Apache's rattlesnake roundup, most of the booths and stands are run by locals but out-of-towners can also bring their wares. Several of the stands offer poor trinkets and worthless t-shirts, but coin vendors and genuine artists also offer their inventories for sale.
Favorite thing: Centering the town's open air flea market and festival is the annual rattlesnake roundup (usually one weekend in April). For those with little interest in hunting the actual snakes, one of the main buildings generally provides a snake pit (admission) where visitors can look and listen to rattlers and snake handlers throughout the day.