Rattlesnake Kate

Written by on August 24, 2013 in Southwest Characters - Comments Off on Rattlesnake Kate

Rattlesnake Kate's DressOne spring day near Greeley, Colorado, a young woman by the name of Kate McHale, was riding her horse to a nearby pond to hunt ducks for dinner. As she dismounted to unlock a gate, Kate was startled by a rattlesnake, which she promptly shot. However, the noise brought three more snakes out of the nearby bushes. Kate was able to shoot those as well, but she was running low on ammunition. And the snakes just kept coming.

Being a resourceful pioneer woman, Kate uprooted a “No Hunting” sign and used it to kill snakes. Her battle took nearly two hours and when it was all over, Kate had killed 140 of the critters. Apparently, the snakes were just rousing from their winter sleep and her gunshots stirred the nest.

Her epic battle made her an instant celebrity once word got out. Newspapers all over the world published her story. Kate decided to put the skins to use and made a dress out of 50 of them. She also made a pair of shoes and a neck band which she often wore.

Kate died October 6, 1969, in Greeley. She was 75 years old. Kate’s dress and other of her artifacts are on display at the museum in Greeley. Her house was purchased and moved to Centennial Village in Colorado.

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