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World Champion Squirrel Cook-Off set for Saturday in Arkansas

Chow Town - The daily dish on Kansas City's food and drink scene
By Dave Eckert - Special to The Star - September 8, 2016

With a tag line like "Squirrel. It's what's for supper," you know you're in for something unique. And, that's exactly what the 10,000 or so attendees will experience at the 10th World Champion Squirrel Cook-Off in Bentonville, Ark., on Saturday, Sept. 10.

"Come on down and try our tree bacon, limb chicken, tofu of the woods," festival organizer and founder Joe Wilson suggested to me. "It's 100-percent organic, all natural, and tree to table."

Wilson admits he never would have gotten this far "without being a little goofy," but while he clearly has a lot of fun with the idea of a top-notch culinary event featuring the lowly squirrel, he also takes pride in how the contest has grown in both numbers and stature. "We've been in The Wall Street Journal. USA Today has rated this as a top ten culinary contest in the country. And, last year, 'CBS Sunday Morning' came out and did a story on us," Wilson said.

Why squirrel? I mean, I have no love for these "rats with tails" that routinely cost me about half of my tomato crop, but the thought of eating them has never crossed my mind. That, in essence, is the point Wilson is trying to make by drawing attention to one of the country's smallest game animals and the huge role it's played through the years.

"Anytime there's been an economic downturn, there's been squirrel to eat. Squirrel has sustained us through some really hard times and we've lost site of that," Wilson commented. "I'm trying to show a piece of American culture and history."

I have to admit I'm more that a little curious about this Saturday's cook-off, and I have been ever since I saw a Facebook post from local outdoorsman and Missouri Department of Conversation worker James Worley who announced he and two others, including Brett Atkinson of Wilma's food truck, would be heading south to compete in this year's contest. Worley and Atkinson will be wooing judges with an amazing food combination. Worley told me what the dishes would be, but then swore me to secrecy till after the competition. Serious stuff.

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The Kania 2000 Trap is suitable for trapping:
Squirrel (Black Squirrel, Grey Squirrel),
Marten, Mink, Opossum, Rat, Skunk, & Other Small Pests

   

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