The Taste of the Wild Cook-Off just proved what most of us already knew, there are some great wild game cooks in Graham County.  There were eleven deer dishes entered in the competition.  Venison Cook-Off winners were:  Wanda Garland for marinated deer roast, Jean Taylor for deer stew and Pam Adams for deer with noodles.  Randy Collins, Ransom Cornett and a special guest judge selected from the audience had the enjoyable job of judging.  In addition to the judges’ selections, participants got to vote for their favorite dish and Larry Hembry won the People’s Choice Award for his deer steak and gravy.

The food was the cornerstone of the event and it required the efforts of many people, including Mark Rogers, Larry Hembry, Bobby Smith, Kim Smith, Nellie Phillips, Revonda Williams, Fred Teesateskie, Jean Taylor, Karen Taylor, Eve Rogers, Pam Adams, Amy Holder, Wanda Garland, and Brenda Moody.  Thanks to everyone who took part!  The entries were delicious.

Several other competitions were held during the festival.  A youth target shooting competition was sponsored by the Smoky Mountain Moonshiners and Wild Turkey Federation.  The winners were:  Tyler Moose in the 10 and over category and Kaden Hyde in the under ten category.  Santeetlah Fire Department sponsored a Turkey Shoot.  The 5K Run and Fun Run had fifteen participants and several winners –  Will Hooper and Abigail Knight won in the Middle School Division.  Anna Riddle and Maggie Knight tied for first in the Elementary Division.

Other events included: a “taste of the wild” where visitors got to taste wild boar, deer, bear and quail; line dance lesson; and an edible plants walk.  Taylor’s Greenhouse provided decorations.

Any event in Graham County requires cooperation and collaboration.  Thanks to the Smoky Mountain Native Plant Association, Junaluska Museum, Linda Wilkey, Taylor’s Greenhouse, the Fontana Ramblers, Josh Turner, Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Association, NC Forest Service, Wild Turkey Federation, Santeetlah Fire Department, Joann Knight, Billy Knight, 5K and Fun Run participants, Terri Edwards, Cross Country Team parents, Jeremy Wachacha, Richard Millsaps, the Smoky Mountain Moonshiners, the Carolina Moonshiners, Village Shopping Center, The Graham Star, Graham County EMS and the town staff.

The purpose of the event was to highlight the skills, talents, and traditions of mountain people and to share these with children and visitors.   The Town of Robbinsville would like to thank the town staff, vendors, volunteers and over two hundred participants at the Wild Meat Festival and Taste of the Wild Cook-Off.