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On Wednesday night, June 22, 2011, the world was introduced to local resident and longtime Sweetwater Jaycee Riley Sawyers through the Animal Planet show "Rattlesnake Republic". Almost a year later, Sawyers found out that the show was picked up for a second season, which premiered on Sunday evening.
Sawyers, in a phone interview, said that he got the exciting news through a phone call and a letter from Discovery, the company who owns the channel. According to the Animal Planet website, "Rattlesnake Republic" highlights and follows the lives of four teams of rattlesnake hunters and wranglers who venture into the Texas landscape to capture "the continent's most dangerous predator".
"Rattlesnake Republic" airs Sunday nights at 8 p.m. Central on Animal Planet.
Along with Sawyers are other locals who appear on the show, including Daltin Fritz. While looking back on the first season, Sawyers said that he was fortunate to be on the show and to have the chance to continually publicize and promote Sweetwater.
"It's a cool experience," Sawyers elated.
He noted that around 80% of the filming for the show takes place in Nolan County to showcase the snake hunts. However, Sawyers pointed out that he travels all across the state to hunt the rattlers.
"Rattlesnake Republic" also attempts to highlight some of Sawyers' personal life. In September 2011, filming was to take place at the Sweetwater Mustang Bowl during the football season as Sawyers is an avid fan of the local past-time.
He also stated that the film crews came to this year's World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-Up in Sweetwater, but was unsure if the footage would be used for the show due to the controversy that surrounds round-up events. The first season of the show was not tied to the local event.
Additionally, he notes that while others on the show tend not to make smart moves when working with the slithering creatures, Sawyers and his team strive to show the utmost respect to the snakes anytime they interact.
"It's a really good show," said Sawyers, "and I just hope to promote Sweetwater anytime I can."