New Post on July 8, 2019. 51st Annual Wild Game Feed.
New Post on May 30, 2018. 50th Annual Wild Game Feed.
New Post on May 30, 2018. 50th Annual Wild Game Feed.
New Post on June 23, 2017. 49th Annual Wild Game Feed.
New Post on June 1, 2016. 48th Annual Wild Game Feed.
New Post on May 27, 2015. 47th Annual Wild Game Feed.
Everyone! On May 26, 2014, I posted something about the 46th Annual Wild Game Feed. Take a look.
Today I received an order form for a ticket to the 2012 Wild Game Feed in Irvine, CA. And by this time tomorrow my money will be in the mail.
I spent years as a fisherman and a hunter. Somehow I missed fishing in Maine, New Hampshire, Florida, and Hawaii, but there is still time. As for hunting, well I’ve missed a few more states, and hunting is now in my past due to physical ability, although I will take every opportunity to sink my teeth into just about anything someone else hunted.
My friends and acquaintances over the years have provided many exotic meals in which I was a willing participant. Several of the meals were better than others, but all were interesting. Elk, moose, duck, goose, turkey, caribou, bear, deer. . .you name it. If it came from the wild, we ate it—or at least tried to. There were a few items on the list that we apparently didn’t know how to prepare (muskrat comes to mind). I discovered that armadillo makes a pretty good sausage. Alligator tail is great in a gumbo. Nutria makes a fantastic stew. And what is there to say about duck, deer, elk, and goose?
Many years ago I cased my rifles and shotguns for the last time, and when the freezer was just about empty, along came Rich. Rich was a salesman at the company where I was working, and I thought he was about the oddest character I had met since my recent trip downtown on the bus. He was big, gruff, and had a loud distinctive voice. My kind of person. Rich and I began a unique friendship that has lasted years beyond the job.
Rich was a member of a club known as ‘Wild Game Feed.’ Once a year this club would sell tickets as a fundraiser to an event known (strangely enough) as ‘Wild Game Feed.’ The profits of this event went to a number of worthy charities in the area, and I thought to myself, “Yeah, right.” But the more I looked into it, the more impressed I became.
I didn’t purchase a ticket to the event the first year I knew Rich, but it was only because I wasn’t too certain about it. I didn’t know if it was a legitimate not-for-profit organization, and I wondered about the legitimacy of the game. If they were selling tickets, the game had to be farm raised. Wild caught or hunted fish and game were not legal to serve in California if tickets were sold. However, the company I worked for provided refreshment (a.k.a. beer) to the Wild Game Feed, so I, along with two others from my department, was invited to the event as a guest. Only an occasional illness has prevented me from returning every year since.
More than a thousand men (stag event) were gathered at the private park in Irvine, California. The ticket included almost everything. All food and drink were covered in the price of the ticket, but more that that, it was all the food and drink one could consume. The menu included buffalo ribs, frog legs, alligator, crawfish, wild game chili, salmon, quail, Cajun gumbo, wild game tamales and tacos, clams, specialty sausages, spit roasted pig, chucker, gamehen, oysters (Rocky Mountain style), as well as many other things I’ve forgotten about. And that was just the appetizers.
Then they brought out the main course. Venison, antelope, elk, boar, buffalo, musk ox, duck, ostrich, albacore, sea bass, and more. There were a few radishes and celery sticks for those who wanted a salad. For some reason, the only leftovers were the radishes and celery sticks. Actually there were plenty of leftover meats, which many of the ticket holders divided among themselves to take home. Nothing went to waste, except a few radishes and celery sticks.
I sat there that first afternoon with some refreshment and a cigar enjoying a plate full of appetizers and thinking to myself, “I’ll be back.” I watched as the various raffles took place and men won everything from rifles to big screen televisions to a fully restored vintage Jeep. Camping gear, motorcycles, fishing equipment, GPS, optics, barbeques, archery equipment, shotguns, and a hunting dog were all raffled off that afternoon while the food kept coming.
I don’t know how much money was raised that day, or in the many years since that day, but I do know it is significant. Every year the event grows larger, and someday the organizers may see the need to limit the number of men who can attend, but for now the group keeps growing. Each year I start looking forward to the next year’s event the day after it is over. Once a year isn’t enough for me. I’d like to see this held several times each year, but I know that isn’t possible.
Each year, the third Friday in September is the annual Wild Game Feed, and I will see my friend Rich once again. As I said earlier, we have a unique friendship. The only time we see each other is at this event each year, but Rich is a highly valued friend, and I know I could call on him for help at any time, and he could call on me any time. We will have a few cigars, a few beverages, a few appetizers, some pickled quail eggs, and we will catch up on the past year. Even though I don’t hunt any more, the rewards are still coming.