Rockwell business creates Rocky the Rock Snake

Published 12:10 am Friday, June 23, 2023

ROCKWELL — Rocky the Rock Snake has taken up residence outside Powles Staton Funeral Home in Rockwell. The long line of painted rocks that make up Rocky has continued to grow ever since the workers at the funeral home placed a painted green snake head beside their carport.

The idea for Rocky began when Dani Slagle, who works at the funeral home, saw a post about a similar community project on Instagram. Slagle created the head of the snake from a rock taken from near one the funeral director Russell Roakes’ house, and placed it beside the rock wall, marking the beginning of Rocky on Friday, June 16.

“We thought it was just a good way to keep the kids busy during the summer. Anybody can come and add a rock, including adults, so it’s not limited to just kids. But we especially just wanted to add a fun activity for kids during the summer time,” said Roakes.

Rocky had grown to around 10 feet long and included almost 20 rocks as of Wednesday. Roakes said that some of them are memorial rocks, but they do not have to be in order to be added to the rock snakes. Roakes also said that he expects a nearby summer camp to come by with rocks after they saw posts about Rocky on Facebook and apparently took on painting rocks as a project.

“Most of the rocks have been set out here at night because people can add to it 24/7. So I come into work and it feels like each day it’s been out there it has grown,” said Roakes.

A community in San Luis Obispo, California, started a similar project during COVID around a lake and, to date, their snake is over 1,200 feet long.

Roakes said that he plans to gather up the rock snake on the third weekend of July and turn it into a rock garden somewhere on the funeral home’s property and that he hopes Rocky has grown to the length of the entire car port by that time.