Sixty pheasants, nine geese, and 1-1/4 deer. Those are some of the statistics – and the ingredients – that went into the making of the Eden Prairie Lions’ 49th annual Wild Game Dinner.
Held annually on the first Monday in December, this year’s Dec. 5 event raised $1,745 for donation to local charities supporting the sheltering and adoption of animals, including the Tribal Partnership Program of Secondhand Hounds and the Eden Prairie Outdoor Center.
Steve Wilson, a Lions Club member and co-chair of the event, donated many of the pheasants from his and his friends’ South Dakota hunts. The wild game for the Wild Game Dinner does come from hunters, some of them Lions and some of them not, Wilson said.
This year’s menu, prepared by chef Ron Rodenwald and his wife, Cindi, included various preparations of the wild game, such as pheasant in cream sauce, pheasant egg rolls, bacon-wrapped pheasant, venison tacos, venison meatballs and firecracker Canadian goose, along with smoked salmon, vegetables, and dessert.
The evening also included a program, with Eden Prairie High School football coach Mike Grant acting as emcee and hosting a University of Minnesota Gopher football-focused trivia game. Tom Moe, former University of Minnesota athletic director and Gopher football and baseball player, gave a speech focusing on the importance of his own high school and college coaches, as well as his father, as role models in his life.
Neither Wilson nor event co-chair Mike Gruidl were aware of how the Wild Game Dinner event got started, but they have already started to plan for next year’s dinner.
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