Chef Tim Love-Hosted Rattlesnake-Cooking Competition to Take Over Fort Worth Stockyards Oct. 6

Rattle Battle graphic

Tickets for the Rattle Battle at the Rattler Days Alley Rally, presented by Community Coffee, on-sale now

FORT WORTH, Texas (September 20, 2023) – This October, a unique food festival will take over Mule Alley in the iconic Fort Worth Stockyards, as the Texas Rattlers, the Metroplex’s first-ever professional bull riding team, stage a rattlesnake cooking competition – Rattle Battle – curated and hosted by renowned Chef Tim Love. The competition, scheduled for Friday, Oct. 6, will feature 12 accomplished celebrity chefs from the region competing head-to-head for the title of who can create the best rattlesnake dish as voted on by attendees and a panel of esteemed experts.

“I’m very excited to host the first annual Rattle Battle and have gathered Fort Worth’s finest and most innovative chefs to engage in a unique challenge – using the most unusual ingredient, rattlesnake,” said Chef Love. “This is a fun, family-friendly event where each chef must create a dish featuring rattlesnake, and the public will be the judges to determine whose dish reigns supreme. The winning Chef will receive the coveted rattlesnake trophy, a cash prize of $1,000 and gifts. This is an event you won’t want to miss! Come witness the culinary prowess of Fort Worth’s best right here in the heart of the Fort Worth Stockyards!”

“We’re thrilled to partner with Chef Tim Love – one of Texas’ most esteemed and loved restauranteurs – to bring this unique culinary experience to the historic Stockyards and our Rattler Days fan festival,” said Chad Blankenship, General Manager of the Texas Rattlers. “Our competing chefs will be serving up the tastiest rattlesnake dishes accompanied by TX Whiskey cocktails and Community Coffee.”

Chef Love is known for his signature urban Western cuisine, creating inspired and innovative dishes that have earned critical and popular acclaim. With restaurants spanning the nation, Love’s roots remain in Texas, where he is Chef and owner of beloved Texas restaurants Lonesome Dove Western Bistro, Woodshed Smokehouse, Queenie’s Steakhouse, Gemelle, Atico, and Love Shack, as well as the storied White Elephant Saloon.

Widely known as a de facto ambassador for Texas, Love’s keen business acumen landed him a role as host of CNBC’s show “Restaurant Startup,” where he and co-host Joe Bastianich vie against each other to invest their own money in restaurant concepts they believe will make them millions.

During Rattle Battle, presented by Chef Tim Love, 12 chefs will compete for the title of Champion. The winning Chef will receive a $2,500 cash prize, as well as a prize pack valued at more than $1,000, including Ariat Boots, an RTIC Cooler, TX Whiskey and more.

Each of the chefs will get to select the type of cuisine they cook, so long as the dish showcases rattlesnake. The menu of their chosen dishes will be made available to attendees prior to the event. At the Rattle Battle, presented by Chef Tim Love, each chef will set up at a station within Mule Alley, with all attendees having the chance to sample each of the 12 dishes.

Those in attendance will each receive a Texas Rattlers token to vote on their favorite dish throughout the event. The Top 3 fan-voted dishes will then advance to celebrity judging, with the panel of three, to-be-announced distinguished culinary experts determining the inaugural 2023 Rattle Battle Champion.

The competing chefs include:

  • Graham Elliott (Le Margot): Graham Elliot is an acclaimed chef, cookbook author, and TV personality. Born into a Navy family, he developed a deep passion for food, experiencing diverse culinary traditions across the globe. Starting as a dishwasher, Elliott’s talent led him to become the youngest chef in the US to receive four-star reviews from major publications. He earned three James Beard Award nominations and was named one of Food & Wine magazine’s “Best New Chefs” in 2004. In 2008, Graham Elliot’s restaurant gained two Michelin stars, a rare feat achieved by only fifteen establishments nationwide. Alongside his culinary journey, he charmed audiences for 10 seasons on MasterChef and MasterChef Junior, working with renowned Chef Gordon Ramsay. Graham also judged on Bravo’s Top Chef for three seasons. His contributions earned him Chef of the Year in 2012 and a place in the Chicago Chefs Hall of Fame. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel even proclaimed a day in his honor. Beyond restaurants, Graham served as culinary director at Lollapalooza since 2009, catering to more than 100,000 attendees and famous musicians backstage. Currently, he hosts and judges PBS’s The Great American Recipe, sharing his culinary wisdom. Graham is a devoted father of three and resides in Fort Worth, Texas, where he works as the Culinary Director and Partner of FAR Out Hospitality Group with Chef Felipe Armenta. Under the FAR Out Hospitality Group, Graham Elliot is involved in several renowned restaurants, including Cowboy Prime, Tavern, Press Cafe, Towne Grill, Pacific Table, Maria’s Mexican Kitchen, F1 Smokehouse, and the newly opened Le Margot in Fort Worth, Texas. Le Margot, curated by Chef Armenta and Michelin Star Chef Elliot, offers a delightful range of French cuisine dishes that reflect the diversity of French culinary traditions while incorporating local and seasonal ingredients. Elliot’s creativity, passion, and relentless pursuit of excellence have made him an iconic figure in the culinary world. His dishes inspire and leave a lasting legacy.
  • Blaine Staniford (Grace, 61 Osteria and Little Red Wasp): Blaine Staniford has been a rising star in the culinary world since he first gained notice at the age of 19 for becoming one of the youngest graduates of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. Following his graduation, he spent two years under the tutelage of James Beard award-winning Chef Marcus Samuelsson at Aquavit Restaurant in New York City. In 1998, he joined San Francisco based Aqua and Pisces Restaurant under acclaimed Chef Michael Mina, and in 2003 returned to his hometown of Dallas as the Sous Chef at Lola—The Restaurant. Staniford then moved on to Fuse, gaining him national recognition for his inventive Tex-Asian menu. In October 2008, Staniford became Executive Chef of the new restaurant in downtown Fort Worth, Grace. Grace may be Staniford’s best work yet: hearty and filling American standards. During his career, he has been named Young Gun by D Magazine, received Four Stars for Food from the Dallas Morning News, and appeared on Good Morning Texas. In addition, the Dallas Morning News named him Rising Star Chef in 2001. In 2012, Staniford earned the title of “Top Chef, Fort Worth” by Fort Worth, Texas magazine. Over the past five years, Staniford has continued to introduce Fort Worth diners to innovative and inspiring dishes through seasonal menu changes and monthly wine dinners highlighting Grace’s passion for fresh and local ingredients. Staniford most recently opened 61 Osteria in Downtown Fort Worth,
  • Rodrigo Cardenas (Don Artemio): Rodrigo Cardenas has an Engineer degree in Food Science and Technology in Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education. He studied Culinary Arts at the International Culinary Center School in New York City, where he worked in the Dinex group owned by Chef Michelin Star Daniel Boulud, he also worked at Nicos, one of the 50 Best Latin American restaurants. Cardenas has been working in Mexico at Don Artemio Saltillo for the past 6 years and Villa Ferré Catering with high profile events.
  • Juan Rodriguez (Magdalena’s): Inspired by his grandmother, Magdalena, who taught him how to cook in her kitchen in Monterrey, Mexico, Chef Juan Rodriguez founded Magdalena’s in 2014 alongside his wife Paige. Born in Chicago, Rodriguez grew up spending summers with Magdalena, learning how to select the best cuts of meat from the butcher’s shop, make tortillas by hand and prepare paella over an open flame. As an adult, Rodriguez followed his passion to Dallas, where he earned his associate degree in culinary arts from The Art Institute. He spent the next 15 years working at top restaurants around the country, eventually becoming Executive Chef at Reata. After more than eight years at Reata, Rodriguez decided to launch his own business, providing off-site catering for weddings, corporate events and other private events.
  • Kemel Rodriguez (Paloma Suerte): While Kemel Rodriguez began his career as a dishwasher, he soon worked his way up to Executive Chef.  After rising to the rank of Executive Chef, Rodriguez later opened a Marriott and received a Charter Marriott Certificate for opening the hotel. Following, he was presented with the opportunity to work at Celebrity Chef Lorena Garcia’s restaurant and is currently the Executive Chef at Chef Love’s Paloma Suerte.
  • Taylor McCreary (Lonesome Dove): Chef Taylor McCreary began his culinary journey by washing dishes at Stillwater Bay during his freshman year at Oklahoma State University. By the time he graduated with a degree in English Education, he had risen to the role of assistant kitchen manager at the same restaurant. Subsequently, he relocated to Dallas to pursue his passion for music, all the while working as a cook at the Dallas Country Club and Magnolia Hotel to make ends meet. After four years of balancing his love for guitar and cooking, McCreary faced a crucial decision: choosing one path over the other. Ultimately, he embraced the culinary world, securing his first Head Chef position at The Libertine Bar. His culinary career continued to flourish as he gained experience at establishments like The Porch on Henderson, Whiskey Cake, Braindead Brewing, and Ida Claire, before finally finding his place as the Executive Chef at Lonesome Dove. Among his proud accomplishments are four appearances as a chef at Meat Fight and three chef demonstrations at The State Fair of Texas.
  • Bert Nichols (Tannahill’s Tavern): Born in 1973 in upstate New York, Bert Nichols started working as a dishwasher as a teenager in a local fine dining restaurant where he met Chef Gene Marxs, who became his mentor and cultivated his love for food that has carried on throughout his entire life. After completing his schooling, he attended the Culinary Institute of America. Nichols began his career in Chicago, working for Hilton in an old-school fine dining steakhouse. From there, he went on to work at various restaurants in Florida to learn more about fresh seafood, which eventually led him to Fisherman’s Wharf in Galveston, Texas. There, he spent many years cooking with the finest fresh seafood that the Gulf coast had to offer. In 2020, Nichols relocated to Fort Worth to assume the role of Executive Chef at Del Frisco’s. Then, in June of the following year, he joined Chef Tim Love’s team as the Executive Chef for The Lonesome Dove Western Bistro, where he explored all the fun creations that can be made using wild game. Subsequently, he was tapped to help open Tannahill’s Tavern and Music Hall, where he is currently situated. Throughout his career, he has always harbored a passion and curiosity about food that has driven him to explore all cuisines and to thoroughly enjoy doing so.
  • Trevor “Big T” Sales (Brix Barbecue): In 2017, Trevor “Big T” Sales got his first smoker as a birthday gift from his parents after moving to Texas from the Chicago region and falling in love with real Texas Barbecue. He stayed up overnight to barbecue and stumbled into work with samples for friends and colleagues. After a few months they convinced him he has what it takes to compete with the ‘big dogs’ in Texas Barbecue. Fast forward to early 2018, when Big T rescued a Boxer-Terrier mix, Brix, that had such an influence on his life, he rebranded and named his barbecue business after him. Big T is a transplant that has fused his love for food with Central Texas style barbecue. Most of the recipes are simple and let the meat shine. There’s nothing to hide, and he’ll share all of his secrets, because the one thing no one can match is his passion for smoking meat to perfection. His love of food comes from his mother, Mama Sales, where her first two ingredients are always butter and love. Big T doesn’t use much butter on his barbecue, the sides are another story, but that first bite of brisket will unveil a great deal of love. Just don’t forget to save the bones for Brix.
  • Christian Lehrmann (Tinies, Side Saddle Saloon): A graduate of The Art Institutes, Chef Christian Lehrmann worked for nearly a decade for Raised Palate Restaurants, the Dallas restaurant group. He is now a partner of Neon Light District Hospitality – the team behind Taco Heads, Tinie’s Mexican Cuisine, and Side Saddle Saloon. Lehrmann has also put together the menus at The Porch and CBD Provisions in the Joule Hotel in Dallas.
  • Trevor Heim (Heim Barbecue): Travis Heim is Co-Owner of Heim Barbecue and Catering with his wife, Emma Heim. Heim’s culinary background started as far back as the age of 12 when he smoked his first brisket on his grandfather’s old, rusty BBQ smoker. That led to an obsession with all things Texas barbecue, that eventually resulted in opening a food trailer near the southside area of Fort Worth in 2015 with his wife. Now the couple owns and operates four restaurant locations, along with a full catering business and food truck. Heim Barbecue has been listed in numerous “Best BBQ” categories and featured on television shows including “Man’s Greatest Foods”, “Man Fire Food”, “BBQ Quest”, and many more.
  • Jon Bonnell (Bonnell’s, Waters, BUFFLAO BROS, Jon’s Grille): Born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas, Chef Jon Bonnell grew up hunting, fishing and cooking with his parents and family – his childhood pastimes would soon become his culinary inspirations. After graduating from Vanderbilt University in 1994, Bonnell taught science and math for two years before pursuing his love for cooking and enrolling in the New England Culinary Institute (NECI) in Montpelier, Vermont. During his tenure at NECI, Bonnell completed a six-month culinary internship at Mr. B’s Bistro in the historic New Orleans French Quarter. In 1997, he graduated from NECI and returned to Fort Worth where he honed his cooking skills at local, upscale restaurants. In his beloved hometown of Fort Worth, Bonnell opened his own signature restaurant, Bonnell’s Fine Texas Cuisine in 2001. His namesake restaurant has won the “Award of Excellence” from Wine Spectator each year since 2004 and has been consistently rated among the top restaurants in the state by Zagat. His newest restaurant concept, Waters Restaurant, opened to rave reviews in March 2013. In addition to his two fine dining restaurants, Bonnell owns and operates BUFFALO BROS, Pizza, Wings & Subs in the heart of the TCU campus and is the Celebrity Chef for TCU’s Amon G. Carter Stadium, where he oversees the menu for all home football games. Tasting Chef Bonnell’s cuisine is an experience found nowhere else. Texas foods are transformed into fine cuisine that is enhanced with regional Creole, Southwestern and Mexican spices. Chef Bonnell’s recipes are authentic and impressive, and he uses his knowledge and understanding of food to conceive amazing dishes that surprise and delight fine diners. Established as one of the foremost experts in fine wild game, Bonnell can win over even the biggest skeptic by dispelling myths and serving the best-prepared and most flavorful wild game. Widely known for his dynamic, authentic personality, Bonnell is an approachable guy-next-door that shares every recipe, technique or ingredient that is requested.
  • Zach Lewis (Atico): Zach Lewis is a local Stockyards chef who studied at Le Cordon Bleu. He started his career in the Fort Worth Stockyards as a Sous Chef at River Ranch then moved to Del Frisco’s Grille. He is currently the Chef de Cuisine at Atico, Chef Tim Love’s rooftop Spanish tapas bar overlooking the Fort Worth Stockyards & downtown skyline.

Rattle Battle, hosted by Chef Tim Love, will begin at 3:00 p.m. CDT. Final judging will begin at 4:00 pm. CDT, followed by the reveal of the Champion at 4:15 p.m. CDT and the conclusion of the culinary extravaganza at 5:00 p.m. CDT.

In addition to the rattlesnake cuisine, two open bars will be stationed throughout Mule Allery for attendees to patronize.

Tickets for the inaugural Rattle Battle, hosted by CheTim Love, are on-sale now. Priced at $125 they can be purchased at or in Mule Alley on event day.
Rattle Battle, hosted by Chef Tim Love, will headline the lineup of programming for the Rattler Days Alley Rally, presented by Community Coffee fan festival that will take over Fort Worth, in both the Stockyards and outside Dickies Arena, from Oct. 5-8.

Daily at the Rattler Days Alley Rally, fans will be able to enjoy food and music, get up close with the Texas Rattlers and more. Eventgoers will also be able to interact with a host of other exhibitors including Cavender’s, RTIC, Bass Pro Shops, eBay and others. Other teams from across the league will also be in attendance including the Austin Gamblers, Kansas City Outlaws, Missouri Thunder and Nashville Stampede.

Additionally, at Dickies Arena, prior to the start of Rattler Days, presented by Ariat, fans can enjoy music, games, vendor activations and more on Simmons Bank Plaza.

Alongside the Rattle Battle, hosted by Chef Tim Love, other unique programming at the Rattler Days Alley Rally will include a pancake breakfast on Saturday, Oct. 7 at 9 a.m. CDT in benefit of the Arlington FFA. The event is open to the public, with donations encouraged.

Following the pancake breakfast, Alley Rally attendees will be able to take in the Rattler Days parade at 11:30 a.m. in the Stockyards following the iconic cattle drive, followed by viewing parties from 12-5 p.m. on the West side of the East Exchange Building lawns for that day’s key college football matchups, potentially including: TCU vs. Iowa State; Texas vs. Oklahoma; Baylor vs. Texas Tech; and Texas A&M vs. Alabama.

The team will then welcome all for Cowboy Church, as led by LeAnn Hart Ministries, on Sunday, Oct. 8 at Simmons Bank Plaza outside of Dickies Arena at 11 a.m. CDT. Hart is a mighty servant to God who wears many hats. Along with being the wife to Kansas City Outlaws Head Coach J.W. Hart, a mother, and a bucking bull stock contractor, she is an inspirational speaker, singer, songwriter and worship leader.

The complete schedule of programming is:

Thursday, October 5:

  • 4 p.m.: Rattler Days Alley Rally, presented by Community Coffee, Opens (Fort Worth Stockyards)
  • 4:30 p.m.: TBA Musical Performance (Cowtown Coliseum Plaza)
  • 5 p.m.: Texas Rattlers Team Meet-and-Greet and Autograph Signing (Ariat Store)
  • 7 p.m. PBR Stockyards Showcase, presented by the Texas Rattlers (Cowtown Coliseum)

Friday, October 6:

  • 3 p.m.: Rattler Days Alley Rally, presented by Community Coffee, Opens (Fort Worth Stockyards)
  • 3 p.m.: Rattle Battle Rattlesnake Cook-off, hosted by Chef Tim Love (Mule Alley)
  • 5 p.m.: Simmons Bank Plaza Opens (Dickies Arena)
  • 7:45 p.m.: Rattler Days, presented by Ariat (Dickies Arena)

Saturday, October 7:

  • 9 a.m.: Pancake Breakfast Supporting Arlington FFA, presented by Community Coffee (Cowtown Coliseum)
  • 11 a.m.: Rattler Days Alley Rally, presented by Community Coffee, Opens (Fort Worth Stockyards)
  • 11:30 a.m.: Rattler Days Parade (Cowtown Coliseum)
  • 12 p.m.: Rattler Days College Football Watch Parties (West Lawns of East Exchange Building)
  • 12 p.m.: Texas Rattlers Team Meet-and-Greet and Autograph Signing (Cavender’s Store)
  • 4 p.m.: Simmons Bank Plaza Opens (Dickies Arena)
  • 6:45 p.m.: Rattler Days, presented by Ariat (Dickies Arena)

Sunday, October 8:

  • 11 a.m.: Simmons Bank Plaza Opens (Dickies Arena)
  • 11 a.m.: Cowboy Church with LeAnn Hart Ministries (Simmons Bank Plaza at Dickies Arena)
  • 6:45 p.m.: Rattler Days, presented by Ariat (Dickies Arena)

The Texas Rattlers will host Rattler Days on Oct. 6-8 at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas. The action begins at 7:45 p.m. CT on Friday, October 6, 6:45 p.m. CT on Saturday, October 7 and 1:45 p.m. CT on Sunday, October 8. During their home event, the Rattlers will play the Oklahoma Freedom on Oct. 6, followed by the Austin Gamblers on Oct. 7 and the Nashville Stampede on Oct. 8.

Tickets for the crucial, final 2023 PBR Camping World Team Series regular season event start at $22; taxes and fees not included. They can be purchased online at and, at the Dickies Arena Box Office, or by calling PBR customer service at 1-800-732-1727.

Three-day ticket packages are available, offering fans a 15% discount on select price levels.

For more information about Ariat Texas Rattlers, visit, Texas Rattlers on Facebook, or @TexasRattlers_ on Instagram and Twitter.

About the Ariat Texas Rattlers:

Under the leadership of General Manager, Chad Blankenship, the Ariat Texas Rattlers are coached by PBR co-founder Cody Lambert, and owned by the Fisher Family, founders of Gap Inc. and one of the founding team owners of PBR Teams. The Ariat Texas Rattlers team, based in Fort Worth, will host its Rattler Days homestand event October 6-8, 2023 at Dickies Arena, the last of the league’s 10-event 2023 regular season. Fisher Family investments include footwear and apparel, real estate, timberland and forest products, and education and sports, including ownership of the Oakland Athletics (MLB) and San Jose Earthquakes (MLS). Through its Ariat brand, the Official Boot of PBR, the Fisher family have been longtime supporters of PBR. The family is actively involved with a number of philanthropic causes, including SFMOMA, The KIPP Foundation, and UCSF.