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Anybody got an extra opossum?


“There are always plenty of ‘possums out here, until you need one,” says New Year’s Eve Possum Drop organizer

At right, the 2008 Possum Drop featured a stand-in raccoon. This year organizers are on the lookout for the namesake marsupial, opossum.


In the past four years, whenever Cowboy Church began preparations for its annual New Year’s Eve Possum Drop, coming up with the honored guest was as simple as spreading the word a living marsupial was sought.

This year however, the Jerusalem/Henderson Mountain area has apparently run temporarily dry of opossums, says Cowboy Church Director Rebecca Hampton.

“There are always plenty of ‘possums out here, until you need one,” said Hampton Tuesday morning.

In years past, organizers have caught the guest of honor early on and then caged and fed it until the big night.

And, lest ‘possum-rights folk grow alarmed, when the gala midnight arrives, the drop includes a lighted cage lowered safely, so the featured critter can be released later, a bit jazzed maybe but unharmed.


When asked why they use an opossum at Cowboy Church, Hampton replied, “In New York they have an apple. In Atlanta, they have a peach,” she said. “We wanted something country, and a horse is too big.”

Hampton said she has found an opossum each year by the hour of need, including one year when someone jumped out of a truck and grabbed one not long before show time.

The first year, however, the honored Mr. P made a getaway shortly before the precipitous plunge. That year Hampton’s ever-resourceful supporters hit the woods again, only to turn up a raccoon, who filled in handsomely for the missing marsupial (the ringtail, no doubt, grinning like a ‘possum all the way).

Hampton advises caution to anyone who spots a ‘possum they aim to snag for the event. “You can catch it at the back of the neck, but you better be sure you get the back of the neck,” she advised.

Opossums can pack a nasty bite and tend to show a touch of temper when messed with.

Opossum, raccoon or some new species, the New Year’s Eve celebration at Cowboy Church will feature a performance by gospel/rock group Jeremiah and the Well Experience plus some dancing and good food. The family-friendly event is geared mainly for kids. Kids with the Cowboy Church’s praise and dance teams may also perform.

For more information see ad on page 15A in tomorrow's print edition.


John Jameson
-1 #21 John Jameson 2012-01-01 20:47
And you call yourself people of God. Leave the animals alone. It never did anything to you and just living it's life like you would. For the people who's reason is that it's only for a few minutes and zoo's and aquiriums do it...start thinking for yourself and just because they do it, doesn't make it right or justify why you should contiue this practice. Let's put you in cage and drop you. Treat others how you would want to be treated.

Get outta the dark ages and start living like decent humans. What the hell is wrong with our society? Oh yah, stop shopping at Wal-Mart.
all Gods creatures
-1 #22 all Gods creatures 2012-01-02 07:12
Thank you to Rebecca Hampton for her humane and brave decision to use a stuffed animal for the New Year's Eve celebration. I am grateful to her.

With respect to the farmer who says he poisons opossums, there is no legal poison for opossums. If he is using rat poison to kill opossums, that is an extremely painful death for the opossum (or any animal that eats the poison) and a threat to all other animals in the area, including pet dogs and birds of prey. Not to mention self-defeating for the farmer. Opossums also eat mice and rats. Sounds like he needs good electric fencing for his property and better coops to protect his chickens.
Possum Slayer
0 #23 Possum Slayer 2012-01-11 01:28
Our farm is surrounded by woods; the only pet dogs are ours and we keep the poison away from them. If asked up front, I deny setting it out with possums in mind-- which is true, I'd rather rats eat it-- but I don't really care if they do. Painful? Maybe, but so too is Equine Protozoa Myeloencephalit is, so I consider it fair play.

As far as I can tell it's very rare that possums eat rat poison anyway; they prefer chickens, tomatoes and cow/horse feed. And I'm pretty good at shooting them before they can make their way into areas where the poison is kept.

Possum Slayer
0 #24 Possum Slayer 2012-01-11 01:32
Plenty of things kill mice and rats. Only a few of them do so while posing as much of a nuisance. Also, around here, mice and rats are generally shot and poisoned as well.

We've 63 acres and 6 chicken houses, about 28,000 square feet each. I don't know how much time or effort it would take to electrify all our fences and completely possum-proof our houses but I really don't see it being more economical than a box of shotgun shells.

P.S. to whomever controls such things: It would be nice if the comment size limits could either show a truly accurate number, or better yet be removed entirely.

P.S.S. Uncle Jeff has spoken, and as usual I agree with him:

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