Testicle Festival

Forget apple pie. Few foods are as uniquely American as the Rocky Mountain Oyster, a euphemism that refers not to a high-altitude mollusk, but to the testicles of a bull. Also known as cowboy caviar and Montana tendergroin, these balls can be boiled, sautéed or even eaten raw, but they’re usually treated more like chicken — breaded and deep-fried.

There are also few things more American than eating competitions, so it should come as no surprise that each summer offers opportunities to prove your manhood by stuffing your face with gonads. I appreciate the pun of the “Nuts About Rocky Mountain Oysters” competition that occurs annually in Loveland, Colorado. But the award for Best in Show goes to the Testicle Festival, held each year at the Rock Creek Lodge near Missoula, Montana.  Started in 1982, it is America’s premier venue to chow down on balls.

When the festival first began, it drew about 300 people. But these days the crowd has grown to 15,000 and the debauchery has expanded to a weekend full of wet t-shirts, impromptu nudity, and an Indy 500-inspired race called the “Undie 500″ — all natural evolutions of an event whose tagline is “Have a Ball.” Try your hand at Bullshit Bingo, a larger-than-life — and quite literal — game of chance where every time a bull shits on the giant bingo card, someone wins $100. Or  support the event’s alternate title — the Breasticle Festival — by signing up for the Biker Ball Biting Competition, where girls riding on the backs of Harleys race to snag a Rocky Mountain Oyster off a string without using their hands. There are belly shots. There’s “No Panty Wednesday.” And, of course, there are Rocky Mountain Oysters themselves, more than 50,000 pounds of them, greasy, disgusting — and USDA-approved.