Have you ever seen a rattlesnake?

Once upon a fleeting time, in 1894, a little girl was born in a log cabin in Northern
Colorado. Her name was Katherine Slaughterback. Kate for short.

Kate grew up and had a son. Early one October morning, she lifted 3-year-old,
Ernie, onto her saddle and the pair headed to a pond to hunt ducks. As Kate
hopped off her Pinto pony to open a gate, she heard a startling sound. Rattle,
rattle, sssss. Rattle, rattle, sssss.

Grabbing a rifle, she saw that the snake wasn’t alone. Kate was surrounded by
slithering creatures coming toward her. It was a reptile migration!

Kate’s rifle was soon emptied of bullets, so she grabbed a fence post and killed
snake after snake.

The chain of reptiles seemed to never end. After two hours, 140 rattlesnakes laid
still on the dusty earth.

The next day, Kate gathered the dead snakes to skin and hang to dry. Once the
skins were tanned, Kate made a dress, headband and matching shoes. With the
largest rattles, she made a necklace. She proudly wore her new apparel to a
country dance.

Kate was a courageous woman of the West. Bing Solomon wrote this song about
her, entitled “Rattlesnake Kate”.

“Rattlesnake Kate was a legend, a lady from the plains. Here’s the story that
stands behind how Katie got her name, how Katie got her name.

Now Kate went out one morning, was on a sunny day. Her boy sat right behind
her as they rode along her way, they rode along her way.

Out in the fields dismounted, she stopped right in her tracks. A big, ole, angry
rattlesnake was buzzin’ at her back, he was buzzin’ at her back.

(Chorus) Tune-up the fiddle and rosin the bow, Turkey in the Straw and Cotton-
eyed Joe. We’ll have a time boys, don’t you know, when Katie comes to town.

When Katie heard that buzzin’ she looked down at the ground, everywhere there
was rattlesnakes buzzin’ all around, buzzin’ all around.

“Well, son, you stay up on that horse.” was all that lady said. She shot a snake,
grabbed some wood and started bashin’ heads, she started bashin’ heads.

And when at last she stopped to rest, her hands all bloody red. A hundred and
forty rattlesnakes lay all around her dead, they lay all around her dead.

(Chorus) Tune-up the fiddle and rosin the bow, Turkey in the Straw and Cotton-
eyed Joe. We’ll have a time boys, don’t you know, when Katie comes to town.

Saturday night at a country dance, excitements runnin’ high. We’ve waited for a
month or more. There’ll be a dance tonight, there’ll be a dance tonight.

Hands clap and fiddles ring, folks are steppin’ high. There’s a jug at every fence
post, there’s puddin’ cake and pie, there’s puddin’ cake and pie.

Then a hush falls on the crowd. What’s this for goodness sake? It’s Katie dressed
from head to toe in the skin of rattlesnakes, the skin of rattlesnakes.

(Chorus) Tune-up the fiddle and rosin the bow, Turkey in the Straw and Cotton-
eyed Joe. We’ll have a time boys, don’t you know, when Katie comes to town.”

Katherine Slaughterback’s rattlesnake outfit can be seen at the Greeley History
Museum in Greeley, Colorado!