Balls to the Wall

Ever since I was a kid growing up in the Colorado Rockies, I have heard the lore of the “oysters” but never had the balls to try them. Suddenly my opportunity was just over the horizon.

Pressing across Montana, we began to travel through another dimension — a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind, mountains and cooked animal parts… CONTINUE READING >>

Ever
since I was a kid growing up in the Colorado Rockies, I
have heard the lore of the “oysters” but never
had the balls to try them. Suddenly
my opportunity was just over the horizon.

When we pressed
across Montana past the three Bs: Billings, Bozeman and Butte, ever
westward, past Helena and

even Missoula, things began to seem strange.
Like we were traveling through another dimension — a dimension
not only of sight and sound but of mind, mountains and cooked animal
parts. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that
of imagination, deep fryers, Idaho and Canada. Wait, there’s a signpost
up ahead… our next stop: The Testicle Zone!

Yes
Virginia there IS a Testicle Festival (love how the words
roll off the tongue!) and it is held every August at The
Rock Creek Lodge just outside the booming metropolis of
Clinton, Montana. The signs along I-90 point the way cuz
no doubt this stuff could not go on within the city limits.

Luckily the festival
had been over for several weeks by the time we arrived — it takes
that long to recover — not to mention clean up. But even a couple

fortnights after the big bash, The Rock Creek Lodge was still having
a ball serving up Rocky Mountain Oysters.

Testicle Festival in Clinton, Montana

For
all you flat-landers out there, Rocky Mountain oysters,
also known as prairie oysters or cowboy caviar, are considered
a delicacy by many mountain folk and are made by slicing
and frying bull testicles.

The Rock Creek Lodge is a typical mountain inn with

the exception
of their obsession with livestock gonads. We sauntered in and bellied
up to the bar amongst the usual mix of cowboys and Grizzly Adams
types, fortified ourselves with a beer — even though the sun was
still high in the sky — and chatted up the bartender, Frank, between
the telling of tall tales by our already half-in-the-bag barmates.

Through
Frank we learned that the Testicle Festival was founded
by Dr. Rod Lincoln, the Baron of Balls, twenty-seven years
ago. Rod is no longer
with

us, but he died doing what he loved, leaving this world on the
last day of the twenty-fifth Testy Festy.

Conceived to boost sales for the Lodge, the Testicle Festival can
be likened to any major ballet company’s production of the
Nutcracker — it keeps the place in business for the rest of the
year.

Asking
the regular clientele about the Festival gave us the impression
that it was fairly benign. Aside from the wet tee shirt contest
and the over-the-top drinking, that is.

Everyone seemed
to be very proud of the international attention the Festival has
gotten

the past few years. After a bit of prodding, however, we
were treated to a peek of the photo albums from the early years.
Suffice it to say Mardi Gras in New Orleans began to seem tame compared
to the antics of the original Testy Festys. Let’s say bovine reproductive
organs were not the only species represented. Yeah, that’s a good
way to put it.

Still
lacking the fortitude to order the house specialty, we felt
a stroll through the gift shop was in order. Walking past
the “wood peckers” (think the worst thing possible
and you’ll be right on the mark) and the baby shirts
decorated with
barb wire with “I ripped Mommy a new one” emblazoned across
the chest, we noticed the church.

Wait, what?
Yup. Sharing space with an ex-home-on-the-range-roaming stuffed
buffalo was The Set Free Ministries, a self proclaimed Biker Church.
Refreshments are served after the services, in the bar. Bring
cash.

The
time had come to take the bull by the horns and head back
to the bar to face the inevitable. We asked Frank to rack
‘em up. There was no turning back now, since the triple-dog-dares
had already been laid out.
Thankfully the testicles are VERY thinly sliced, HEAVILY breaded
and spiced, then deep-fried until there’s no telling what’s inside.
A

heavily flavored cocktail sauce makes consumption a little easier,
just try not to think about it and pop ‘em down.

Having lost
the coin toss, I was the first to give the balls a try. Summoning
up my courage, I dipped the wafer into the cocktail sauce and
took a bite. Spicy and glistening with oil, down the hatch, knowing
that any sign of discomfort would turn Veronica from the task
at hand. It was not easy but I smiled right through it. The uneasiness
over the main ingredients overpowered the fact that the taste
wasn’t completely appalling.

Veronica kicked
into her panic mantra (”People do this every day and do not
die, People do this every…”), closed her eyes, dipped
and chewed. Uh. The best compliment she could come up with was
that it wasn’t the WORST thing she had ever done. Close,
but not the worst. It helped that we were pretty hungry and with
the proper breading to grease ratio almost anything is edible.
It also helped that often the breading would accidentally slip
off… “oops, I guess I’ll just eat this part.”
Quite a few grey slices of bull ball were left in the bottom of
the basket. Mmm, Mmm, Good eatin’.

It was
time to see the source. Luckily we had not thought to ask
to view the raw frozen bull testicle prior to the tasting,
as THERE WAS NO WAY in hell we would have eaten with the
picture of that huge frozen, veined gonad burned into our
brains.

That
would be nuts.

David, GypsyNester.com



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13 thoughts on “Balls to the Wall”

  1. where can I buy beef and pork Rocky Mountain oysters. Do anyone have a link to a website where they sell them. If so post it on this site in comments. Thanks.

  2. I’m with the other commentor. Who when they saw the uncooked testical maybe could have eaten one. That’s nasty looking

    1. I meant could have eaten one until viewing uncooked one. Now saying its EWWWWW. !!! I say ditto to that. But I think the festivals a hoot!!!

  3. >OMG and Ew! I shuddered and LMAO'd. Loved the "Nutcracker" reference the most! I completely understand why drinking is incorporated into this activity.

  4. >That's a great name for a festival. And, I had no idea those things were so BIG!! My guess is the "idea" of eating these was probably harder for David than for Veronica. I just remember my surprise when my husband just couldn't bring himself to neuter his male dog–you guys really get testy when we bring up testicles!

    I think I've had Rocky Mountain Oysters somewhere here in Phoenix…at a bar maybe. Lucky for me, I don't remember the event. 🙂

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