For the last 53 years, American Legion Gingrich-Dixon Post 13 in Wakonda, S.D., has hosted a huge public steak dinner in October to mark the opening of hunting season. Read more about the fundraiser on Post 13’s page on the Legion’s Centennial Celebration site.
Post Commander Michael Hessman has talked to Kenny Peterson, one of the most senior post members with 61 years of membership, and reports, "He said the Hunters Feed started when some farmers, including himself, would host several out-of-state pheasant hunters from Virginia. A small group of American Legion members began serving steaks for these hunters out of our building. It was not one particular person’s idea, but more of a group decision to have a meal of some sort. I can only imagine the hunters insisted on giving a little donation to the Legion for thanks.
"It was larger in previous years, with 400-500 steak dinners being served. Nowadays we serve an average of 250 each year. This includes a 16-oz. T-bone steak, baked potato, corn, roll and salad for $20. It only increased to that price last year, as beef prices have risen. The majority of people who attend now are locals, as well as those who may only come back to Wakonda for this event to meet up with old friends. It’s our Legion’s biggest fundraiser each year. We also have a shotgun raffle in the form of a $500 gift certificate to a local gun shop; and a local band plays each year for a dance." Peterson reportedly continued that the grandkids of those original Virginia hunters still come to Wakonda to enjoy the hunting and steaks.
Find more Legion stories at www.legion.org/centennial.