For Oakdale’s most distinctive and exclusive event to which many travel from far to attend – no, not the Chocolate Festival or annual Saddle Club Rodeo –the only event where you’re guaranteed to have a ball, better known as Oakdale’s annual Testicle Festival, sponsors prepare early to have things in order for the hundreds that attend.
Under the watchful eye of local optometrist Dr. Lee Scaief at Medlen’s House of Beef, members of the Oakdale Rotary Club and volunteers slice, tenderize, batter, bread, and fry up over 400 pounds of bull testicles, better known as Rocky Mountain oysters, as a community fundraiser for the club and the Oakdale Cowboy Museum.
“This is a good batch,” called out Max Cowan as he slipped a freshly fried gonad into his mouth.
Putting testicles anywhere near your mouth may not sound enjoyable to everyone, but for over 450 who attend a sit-down dinner at $65 apiece, this is a time to chow down and “go nuts” on the delicacy of the battered bovine nuggets.
The FES Hall was inundated on Monday night, March 25, as locals and out-of-towners arrived at the facility to partake in the tasty tidbits accompanied with beans, Caesar salad, and French bread with an open bar, and prize drawings.
The evening was capped by an auction of several items that included a 30.08 rifle, a roping steer, NHRA tickets, and box seats for the annual rodeo.
Karen Phillips of Modesto brought her boyfriend Randy Sieverson to the event as a month-old Valentine’s Day present.
“He loves these,” Phillips said. “I couldn’t resist doing this for him.”
“I’m a big fan of mountain oysters,” said Sieverson. “My ex-father-in-law introduced them to me years ago. He was a sheep herder in the Pyrenees Mountains.”
For Phillips, it was her first time as she braved the “nutty” taste of the night’s entrée.
“I’ll try anything once,” said Philips.
Visitors from as far away as Madera and Sacramento made the trek to the FES Hall to dine on the evening’s highlighted cuisine.
First timer and FFA member Amie Dunlop, who is in the process of raising her own steer, was being introduced to the event by her father, Oakdale City Councilman Ton Dunlop.
“It was good,” said the younger Dunlop. “I’ll probably come again.”
Oakdale Cowboy Museum Executive Director Christie Camarillo was pleased with the night’s turnout, stating proceeds from the event assist the museum with its high school rodeo scholarships.
“This event helps with the overall operation of the museum,” said Camarillo. “We have an excellent partnership with the Rotary Club.”
Camarillo also pointed out that 32 years ago, local rodeo icon and three-time steer wrestler, Harley May, was the founder of the Oakdale Testicle Festival.