Selma Alabama Wildlife Federation Wild game Cook-Off was successful

Published 10:46 am Monday, October 25, 2021

By Lew Gilliland

The Selma Times-Journal

Tim Wood thinks he knows a big reason why the Alabama Wildlife Federation’s wild game cook-offs are so successful.

“It’s because it’s just a social event,” he said. “There’s no pressure to have to buy something, no pressure to have to sit at a table or go through the lines. It’s an unorganized organized event. People are wondering on their own. There is no correct way or wrong way. We’ve got live entertainment … It’s just a festival type atmosphere.”

The AWF holds around 10 wild game cook-offs across Alabama every year in addition to the state finals in Millbrook. The cook-offs are divided between spring and fall seasons.

Selma has long been a host for one of those cook-offs, and the 2021 version unfolded Thursday night at ArtsRevive.

Wood, AWF’s second vice president, said the Selma event went well.

“It was absolutely the largest we’ve ever had,” he said. “Well over 600 people attended. It’s kind of like homecoming. You go from cook team to cook team, and they have samples for the public. The city has worked with us about closing down Water Avenue (for the event). It is an absolute blast.”

Wood said AWF always receives good cooperation from the city at event time.

“The ArtsRevive location has kind of rejuvenated it a little bit,” Wood said. “Up until 2018, we held it in front of the St James Hotel, which was a great partnership, but when they went into their renovation, we had to find a new location.”

Cost to attend is $50 a ticket, which includes complementary food and an annual membership in the AWF. Wood said many people attend on sponsor’s tickets. Companies pay $250 to be a sponsor and receive five tickets, which they often distribute to employees.

Proceeds benefit AWF’s natureplex in Millbrook.

“It brings in about 30,000 students per year,” Wood said of the facility. “It’s a destination for students to come in and learn about conservation. They will do everything from pet snakes, learn about turtles, wade the creak, learn about what lives in creek, (etc.).”

Proceeds also benefit an AWF stewardship program that helps landowners improve their property by improving its wildlife habitat. That service is provided at no cost to the property owners.

Central Alabama Electric Cooperative was the overall winner Thursday and will advance to the state finals

Wood said there was a variety of food available to sample Thursday night.

“There were some sword fish tacos,” he said. “There was a stew with squirrel eggs in it. I cooked some elk chili. There was some gumbo that was made from turkey and quail and duck and dove. The food was outstanding. It was probably the best quality food we’ve ever had.”

Winners

A look at Thursday’s top dishes

Fish

First place: Sand Bar, Crispy grilled catfish taco

Second place: Co-op Cut UPS, Bedding crappy burger

Third place: Feathers and Fur Cooks, Hooked tacos

Fowl

First place: Co-op Cut UPS, “Gobblin-Wonton”

Second place, Hancock’s BBQ, Ginger duck egg rolls

Third place, Feathers and Fur Cooks, Final Flight

Game

First place: Feathers and Fur Cooks, The Gut Bucket

Second place: Co-op Cut UPS, Buckaroo in a Blanket

Third place:  Vaughan Regional Medical Center, Bambi Nachos

Best Presentation

Co-op Cut UPS (Central Alabama Electric Cooperative)

Runner-up: Vaughan Regional Medical Center

Best Overall

Co-op Cut UPS (Central Alabama Electric Cooperative), Gobblin-Wonton.