Beyond the Snakes: Neyla Pekarek Shares Kate Slaughterback’s Story

The legend of Kate Slaughterback — aka Rattlesnake Kate — is an enduring tale. And few know Kate’s story better than Neyla Pekarek.

Neyla is a Grammy-nominated cellist and singer, former member of The Lumineers, and University of Northern Colorado alum. Her musical, “Rattlesnake Kate,” premiered in 2022 at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. She’s released two solo albums — the first, in 2019, titled “Rattlesnake,” and the second, released June 30, is “Western Woman,” which continues Kate’s stories with songs from the musical.

So, when Olivia Meikle and Katie Nelson, Ph.D., decided to include Kate’s story in their popular podcast, “What’s Her Name,” Neyla was a natural choice to help tell the story.

“What’s Her Name” is in the top 1% most popular US podcasts, averaging around 60,000 downloads a month in over 160 countries. Each episode focuses on a historical woman who is less-well-known than she should be and features a guest expert along with Olivia, a professor of Women’s and Gender Studies and Katie, a professor of History (both at Naropa University in Boulder).

“We interview experts and weave vivid, nuanced biographies of women you’ve never heard of (but should have),” reads the podcast description.

Kate’s episode, called “The Western Woman: Rattlesnake Kate Slaughterback,” begins with Olivia inviting listeners into Kate’s story to imagine they are out riding with their three-year-old son when, armed only with a “rifle, four bullets, and a ‘no hunting’ sign,” they come across hundreds of migrating rattlesnakes.

The snakes, says Neyla, are just one part of Kate’s story.

She explained that she came across Kate’s story when, as a UNC student, she and her roommate, Brian Cronan, visited the Greeley History Museum. “I thought, as someone from Colorado, it was so odd that I’d never heard of her before,” Neyla said. “It was the snake story that got me interested, but as I started to research more of her life, I was really hooked on the kind of person she was and the kind of life she led.”

Recorded on location at the Greeley History Museum, in the podcast Neyla shares the why Kate’s story resonated with her. Olivia and Katie add context, and Emma Porter reads Kate’s letters. Music featured in this episode is by Neyla herself, as well as Quincas Moreira, Nat Keefe and The Bow Ties, and Zachariah Hickman. Mark Henderson performs “Rattlesnake Kate’s Passionate Love.”

It’s a colorful podcast with storytelling that draws listeners in through anecdotes, music, and historical documents.

Featured image courtesy of the University of Northern Colorado

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Copyright 2024 City of Greeley  |  A City Achieving Community Excellence  |  Privacy  |  ADA Policy