The Tumbleweed’s Calf Fry: come hungry, leave … actually, it’s probably a good idea to leave hungry, too.
A calf fry is a deep fried bull testicle, which is the staple food of the three-day music festival that the local dancehall hosts every year.
The 22nd annual Calf Fry was much more than a bunch of locals chowing down on bull gonads. It was a celebration of the local flavor and art.
Red Dirt and Texas country artists such as the Josh Abbott, Casey Donahew, Whiskey Myers and Randy Rogers bands performed for more 10,000 people who bought tickets to this year’s event.
Phillip Randolph, one of the owners of Tumbleweed, helped organize the whole event.
“Since about mid-fall we have preparing for this festival,” Randolph said. “This is the biggest red dirt event in Oklahoma.”
The festival has had its highs and lows. A few bands had to cancel Friday night due to inclement weather.
“I came here to have a good time and party,” Levi Johnson, a Broken Arrow native, said. “But I hated last night because I came all the way out here to have Randy Rogers cancel.”
The rain could not ruin the festival completely. By the time the doors opened at 5 p.m. on Saturday, the sky was sunny, the field was muddy and the stage was rocking.
Cowboy hats and boots were common attire as patrons poured onto the muddy field to hear the Saturday night line-up. Casey Donahew headlined the night but artists Kyle Park and JT Hodges held their own.
Garrett Kilpatrick was one of the people responsible for cooking the calf fries.
“The festival originally started way back when a bunch of local ranchers neutered their little bulls and said, ‘Hey, let’s have a calf fry,” Kilpatrick said. “Eventually the party got so big they asked the Tumbleweed to take it over.”
The Calf Fry reached its current size back in the ‘90s when Red Dirt music gained popularity with the rise of bands like Cross Canadian Ragweed and the Great Divide, Randolph said.
The date for the 2014 Calf Fry has not yet been announced.