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Rocky Mountain oysters make a spectacle at first-ever Weston Testicle Festival

A close up on four hands holding fried mountain oysters, which look like chicken nuggets. They appear like they're doing a toast with the mountain oysters.
Eleanor Nash
KCUR 89.3
About 700 people attended the Weston Testicle Festival, which served up 400 pounds of deep-fried pork balls – which many people sampled for the first time.

Saturday's festival in Weston, Missouri, drew 700 people from both sides of the state line to sample the deep-fried delicacy. "I'm gonna say I've had some very tender balls," one attendee joked.

At the first-ever Weston Testicle Festival on Saturday, the star of the show was 400 pounds of deep-fried pig balls — and an avalanche of lewd jokes served on the side.

You might know Rocky Mountain oystersby other names or animals — “cowboy caviar” or “bull fries” — but around here, says organizer Parker Shute, the dish is traditionally made with pork testicles.

With supplies sourced from Paradise Locker Meats in Trimble, Missouri, volunteers worked all day Friday to prepare the mountain oysters — first by cutting and removing the outer membrane, then straining out the juices.

“It's pretty labor intensive,” said Shute, president of the Weston Patriots Club, which organized the event.

Man in light blue t-shirt and baseball cap stands with his hands on his hips. The t-shirt reads, "Weston Testicle Festival," with the first letter of each word bolded, spelling out WTF.
Eleanor Nash
KCUR 89.3
Volunteer Tom Vece of Weston shows off the festival t-shirt.

While Testicle Festivals are thrown around the U.S., Shute said their particular event was inspired by an annual event held for over four decades at Pat’s Steakhouse in Rushville, Missouri. But that fell by the wayside after owner Patricia Louise Pospisil passed away in 2019.

Shute wanted to make sure that legacy didn’t die: “People from the community coming together and just kind of remembering some of the traditions that we're trying to keep going.”

Inside the rustic, warehouse-sized Weston Burley House, a long line of chatting visitors waited as local resident Kim Schraeder shook the mountain oysters together with seasoned breadcrumbs in a box, before a cook threw them in the deep fryer.

“It just tastes like fried something — not chicken,” Schraeder says. “I know that’s what everybody says, ‘it tastes like chicken.’ But [it's] just a fried batter.”

An individual size food serving boat with mountain oysters, which look similar to chicken nuggets, french fries, and a small portion of white sauce. The mountain oysters and the french fries each take up about half of the dish.
Eleanor Nash
The main event: mountain oysters with french fries and horseradish sauce

For the less adventurous, the festival also offered pulled pork sandwiches and fries, and live music headlined by Outlaw Jim and The Whiskey Benders.

But many of the day’s 700 attendees were game for sampling the mountain oysters — “the original sack lunch,” as the event merchandise declared — and found them not as strange as they expected.

Mike Brennan of Kearney, Missouri, said he was invited by a friend who lives in Weston, and likes trying “different” foods like escargot and frog legs. This was his first time sampling pork balls, but said the style of breading made it so “you probably couldn't tell the difference between mountain oysters and fish, really.”

Julie Head traveled from McLouth, Kansas, and initially didn’t plan on trying the pork testicles — which she worried would taste rubbery — but still ended up with a serving on her plate.

“The meat is very tender. I'm gonna say I've had some very tender balls,” Head joked. “They're actually delicious. I'm pleasantly surprised.”

Brandon Betsworth came to the festival with Head, but approached the task with more gusto: “These are the best balls I’ve ever had!”

For journalistic purposes, this reporter tried the dish too, and found that after dipping the mountain oysters in horseradish sauce, it would be easy to forget what she was eating — if it weren’t for the spectacle surrounding them.

Shute says he hopes the first-ever Weston Testicle Festival won’t be its last.

“I just want to continue to promote the festival, have it grow, hopefully kind of become a known staple in the Kansas City area, and help everybody out that's around here that's local,” Shute says.

Eleanor Nash is an intern for KCUR's Up To Date. You can reach her at enash@kcur.org
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