Flagstaff History: Man decided to keep pants on during snake scare

Special to the Daily Sun
100 years ago1923: The man who got the most excitement out of the Hopi Indian snake dance was Earl (“Bucko”) Sisk of Flagstaff. Bucko took up his stand near a huge stone obelisk standing in the center of the rectangular court in which the dance took place. When the circle of dancers formed, Bucko, leaning against his obelisk, was in the center, inside the ring. As the spectators pressed close to the outside of the ring, it contracted, and the dancers, with their snakes, passed pretty close to Bucko. Then, as the snakes were dropped, they were thrown in a heap at Bucko’s feet. He didn’t want to disturb the ceremony by trying to break through the ring of dancers. So he kept his eyes on the constantly increasing pile of snakes, many of them huge rattlers. Finally one whip, or coach snake, a very rapidly moving variety, started directly toward Bucko. “I saw that snake sashay one way, then sashay another,” said Bucko, “then sashay toward me.” That was when Bucko turned quickly around and tried to climb the obelisk. Failing in that, he glanced back to see where the whip snake had got to. It had disappeared. “I couldn’t figure out any place it had gone except up my pant’s leg. I felt of my leg, and I want to tell you if I’d have felt only a wrinkle I’d have taken my pants off right there.”

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