Have a ball
at the Testicle Festival

From Out West #36

By Chuck Woodbury, editor
Out West
The newspaper that roams

CLINTON, Mont -- I stopped earlier to check out the Testicle Festival. It officially started today but there was practically nothing going on. "All the good stuff starts on Saturday," a young woman serving testicles told me. Today is Thursday.

The motto of the annual September event is: "I had a ball at the Testicle Festival."

It was pretty festive, all right, with lots of booths and tables set up outside. My gut feeling is that a heap o' beer is going down here in the next few days. Of course, a lot of testicles will be consumed, too. Last year's crowd of 10,000 devoured two tons of the protein-rich bull meat.

The festival is held each year at the Rock Creek Lodge, which is 20 miles east of Missoula along I-90. There's a free year-round campground, but I didn't stay because I thought it might get a little noisy.

I did partake of some testicles, however -- the $5 sampler plate. I didn't finish because I figured I was swallowing too much fat for my low-fat diet, but I did eat enough to report that they tasted pretty swell -- like chicken. Of course, everything tastes like chicken.

"You wouldn't think twice about these if you didn't know what they were," the guy at the table next to me mumbled to his wife, who ate her plateful with no comment.

Among the festival's activities are a wet tee-shirt contest featuring ladies, and a hairy chest contest featuring guys. There is also Bullshit Bingo, with a grand prize of $100 for the lucky person who correctly predicts where a cow will let loose.

This was the 14th annual Testicle Festival, which gets more famous every year. I think festival promoter Rod Lincoln, the owner of the Rock Creek Lodge, is probably making a wad off this event. The lodge's gift shop has a hundred different Testicle Festival souvenirs, including at least a dozen styles of shirts.

Lincoln uses only USDA approved bull testicles, also known as Rocky Mountain Oysters. "I skin them when they're just thawing because the membrane peels like an orange," he once told a reporter. He then marinates them in beer, breads them four times, and deep fries them. The end result looks like a big, flat cookie or breaded tenderloin.

Actually, they're billed as "Montana Tendergroin."

(For info on the next festival -- held in September -- call the Rock Creek Lodge at 406-825-4868.)

(NOTE: Rvers and tent campers can spend the night in a free campground behind the tavern)

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In Montana Magazine, writer Cindy Dyson wrote about the Rock Creek Testicle Festival as well as several other celebrations of the famous Rocky Mountain Oyster.

So, thanks to Cindy and Montana Magazine, ($21/year, 800-654-1105) we can report that if you are into testicle eating, you can chow down at the following celebrations:

  • Fromberg Festival of Testicles (near Billings). Call for dates: 406-668-7642.
  • Nut and Gut Feed, 90 miles from Havre. Info and dates: 406-654-2678.
  • Mission Mountain Testicle Festival: First Saturday in June at Branding Iron in Charlo (50 miles from Missoula). Info: 406- 644-9493.
  • Ryegate Testicle Festival. Second Saturday in June in Ryegate (60 miles from Billings). Info: 406-568-2330.
  • York Bar's Go Nuts Testicle Festival. Third Friday in May. In York, about 20 miles from Helena. Info: 406-475-9949.

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