More than 20 cooks are expected to compete for prizes March 14 in the 24th annual Rocky Mountain Oyster Fry in Virginia City, Nev. Among the titles up for grabs: "Best Rocky Mountain Oyster Cook in the West."
Rocky Mountain Oysters, sometimes called cowboy caviar or prairie oysters, are animal testicles that cooks in the contest serve fried, grilled and sautéed. Some of what many consider a delicacy are served deep fried with a dollop of mayonnaise. Others come with dipping sauces. Bacon-wrapped varieties were particularly popular last year.
During the event a banner along C Street, Virginia City's main drag, will encourage visitors to "Have a Ball."
Virginia City, about 25 miles southeast of the Reno-Tahoe International Airport, was a boomtown that owed its existence to the Comstock Lode, the silver ore whose discovery was announced in 1859. It set off a boomlet that that began to decline about 15 years later, although mining continued until the 1920s.
Virginia City also was home to Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain. It is said that Virginia City is the first place he used the Twain name.
Advance tickets cost $5 for three tastings or $10 for those brave enough to try 10.