Do You Remember Big Sid?
If you lived in or around Standale back in the summer of 1978, you were on the lookout for a 16 foot python (some said 20 foot) that weighed 140 pounds, that might be slithering through your yard!
The excitement began on June 23rd, 1978. Big Sid was part of the Wonderful World Circus and was one of their star attractions. The sneaky serpent escaped from his plywood and rope cage…and slithered away into the woods.
For weeks people kept an eye out for the snake. Residents of the area worried about their small pets and children might become lunch for the serpent.
Several businesses took advantage of the added publicity to the area. LaVeen’s Department Store created “Standale: Home of Big Sid” t-shirts that sold like hotcakes. (Local t-shirt manufacturer The Mitten State re-created and sold some of these shirts for a limited time a few years back.) Other merchants named pizza or donuts after the snake.
Steve Rapolevich, and his wife Patty, were bicycling on Maynard Avenue around 7:30 pm on a summery Monday evening on July 24th, 1978, As they biked along, they spotted “Big Sid”. Steve got off his bike and grabbed the tail of the snake. He tried to hold on while his wife called the Police. It took six men to hold Big Sid. As they were trying to capture and contain the snake, about 500 people gathered to watch. “Big Sid” had been captured!
Sid’s owner, Kenneth Heller, was thankful for all of the help he received from Standale residents during his search. After the snake’s capture, Heller agreed to exhibit the snake as part of the Standale “Sid-walk” Sale that year.
The month of freedom took it’s toll on “Sid”. He wasn't so big anymore. When he was captured he weighed only 70 pounds. In the month or so he had been on the loose, he lost about half of his body weigh. Overall he was in pretty good health.
I've never been able to find a follow up as to whatever happened to Big Sid. He'd be a very old snake if he is still alive.