EATON — The North American Wild Game Cook-off continues to grow in size and species offered — this year’s Grand Champion won for his goose, which impressed the judges.
The annual Preble County Fair cook-off was held on Sunday, July 28 and offered species including fish, venison, elk, good, and duck — all wild.
The grand champion title went to Jeremy Bendle. Ethan Kosier won the big game class for his elk. Bendle also won the fish class.
For the Wild Game Cook-off, all game must be native to North American or have a hunting/trapping or fishing season in North America. Entries will be judged on taste and presentation. Seventy percent of the dish has to be comprised of the game animal or fish for the entry. Food needs to be cooked prior to arrival for the contest.
Classes include: big game, small game, fish, bird, and exotic. $25 is awarded to each class winner and $100 to Grand Champion. Prizes are sponsored by 4-H club Spic N Span Pots N Pans.
This year, there were eight entries total in three classes.
According to 4-H Advisor Matt Lunsford, the event continues to grow each year in different ways.
“The brainchild for this was it was something fun, an evening-time event, and it was free. It brought cooking down to this side of the fairgrounds, where livestock normally is. Generally, all the competitors offer samples up to the crowd and everyone enjoys it,” he said.
“Entries are increasing and the crowd keeps building as well. It is becoming a bigger event and we’re hoping to add a new class next year. We want to add a pie class, with wild berries. It is something else for people to be able to enter, for people who aren’t hunters. We want to get more people involved.”
Fairgrounds Manager Jim Shute, who serves as a judge, added, “It has grown every year and I have enjoyed it for the past three years. This year had some great dishes, a lot of great dishes, so it was tough to judge, but I enjoyed it — it was fun. It is another event for people to enter and be a part of the fair.”
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH