LOS ANGELES (CIRCA) -- If you want to run for office in Arkansas, you’d better have an appetite for raccoon.
Every January, politicians from around the Natural State find their way to a high school gym in the tiny town of Gillett to take part in the Coon Supper put on by the Gillett Farmers and Businessmen’s Club.
It’s a political must-do turning 76 years old this weekend, and it’s drawn all of Arkansas’ heavy hitters: not just state legislators and gubernatorial candidates but sitting Congressmen, too. Even Bill Clinton and Mike Huckabee made stops in Gillett, population 700, during their rises through the state’s political system.
Tickets for the event go for $25 each and consistently sell out as hundreds fill the gymnasium of a school shuttered a decade ago because of insufficient enrollment. State law mandated the Gillett school district consolidate with neighboring De Witt.
Oh, and if you’re on the ballot, know that eating some raccoon is all but mandatory.
“You don’t have to eat a lot of it, but you have to eat some,” former Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe told The Wall Street Journal.
His advice: “Take little bites.”
And pour on the barbecue sauce. That’s the hack Clinton and Huckabee shared with the paper.
So what does raccoon taste like?
“Everybody has a different opinion on whether they like it,” Rep. Rick Crawford, a Republican who’s represented the state’s 1st Congressional district since 2011, told Roll Call. “It doesn’t taste like chicken.”
On top of getting Gillett’s residents some face time with their political leaders, the event help raise money for the town’s college-bound students.
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