By Tiffani Ireland –
Despite the frosty weather, scores of outdoorsmen from across the county converged on the Edgefield Gym Saturday night, Feb. 16, to do a little baiting. No, they were not baiting for deer, coon, or wild hogs. These outdoorsmen were doing a little soul baiting – in the form of the Edgefield Baptist Association Brotherhood’s annual Wild Game Supper. And they were not using the typical corn bait, either. The bait these hunters were using included, among other things, venison, wild hog, turkey, frog legs, fried rattle snake, Bar-B-Qued coon, and goose burgers.
In its 11th year, this year’s Wild Game Supper drew an estimated 400 men, women, and children from South Carolina and Georgia for the opportunity to try some new (and some might say unusual) foods as well as to hear the message of Jesus Christ. As varied as the food were the different cultures and backgrounds represented at the dinner. An international delegation comprised primarily of people of Asian descent came from Augusta to partake of the fellowship and meal. There was also quite a large number from the Connie Maxwell Children’s Home in Greenwood, SC, not to mention the many locals who were invited to share a meal of dishes that perhaps they might otherwise never have the opportunity of tasting.
The Advertiser cruised the room to see what the guests were tasting and to search for brave souls who ventured beyond the safe options of venison and turkey. Of particular interest were the reviews of the not-so-typical dishes of coon and goose.
After finding one young man from Greenwood who eagerly tasted the Bar-B-Qued coon, he pronounced, “It tastes like Bar-B-Qued chicken!” Another young taste-tester described the coon as being “rubbery” while a third found its description hard to out into words, but declared, with a funny expression on his face, that he liked it. As for the goose burgers, those were described as being smoky but good. These two dishes not only won over our taste-testers, but they were also apparently a big hit with everyone else, as well, as these were two of the dishes to run out first. But not to worry, there was still plenty if other wild game left to be sampled.
While wild game dishes may serve as the bait for this event, it is not really about the food. This supper is ultimately an outreach ministry of the Baptist Brotherhood. As such, this year’s program included worship through singing, provided by local band, 6 on Friday, and a devotional message delivered by Randy Jackson, member of the performing band and Youth Pastor at Antioch Baptist Church. As well as the food, fellowship, and worship, there were also several door prizes given away, and officers with the Department of Natural Resources provided their TOMO (Take One Make One) trailer for simulated hunting experiences.
The Edgefield Baptist Association Brotherhood is active in many outreach programs throughout the year, but their annual Wild Game Supper is their biggest. However, without the support of members from the many local churches and the local community, this event would not be the success it has become. Nearly half of the 20 associational churches actively participate in this supper, and many local merchants, such as Heritage Hardware and the National Wild Turkey Federation, as well as a few corporate contributors, like Primos and Mossy Oak, made donations to this effort.
Though meant as a tool to lead people to Jesus, one can not help but noticing that it is so much more. One look at the men and women of all ages banding together to ready the gym and prepare the food, and it quickly becomes apparent that this is also a tool for reinforcing those Christian ties that bind; truly blessing the givers as well as the receivers.