Finding myself out of Schmidt, I decided to make the expedition towards Webster to replenish my supply, stopping along the way at Crow Bar for the friday evening meat raffle, proceeds of which benefit the Spooner High School Ice Fishing Team. Having just won a free can of Schmidt playing my first game of Shake A Day, a dice game popular in northern Wisconsin and Minnesota bars which rewards winners with free beer, I was feeling lucky. I purchased some raffle tickets and watched as the crowd of families and elderly folks from the area packed into the bar, anxiously waiting to discover the contents of the immense cooler next to the stage.
The raffle commenced with a free round featuring non-meat based prizes, winners of which were determined by drawing from a deck of playing cards. "Nine of diamonds", spouted a voice over the microphone, the eyes of the crowd scanning the bar with precision in attempt to spot the winner...which happened to be me. "Do you hunt turkeys?", asked the announcer as I approached, his finger pointed at an archery target, emblazoned with a large cougar illustration, which was resting on the table. "No, but that looks awesome" I said, proudly claiming my prize and returning to my seat after kindly thanking the gal from Minnesota that drew the winning card, whom I had been chatting to earlier.
Finally, the main event. After watching several winners parade victoriously back to their seat displaying their newly acquired gigantic pack of meat in the air, I felt a bit of anxiety mixed with sadness as the final number of the third round was announced, signaling the end of the raffle. BAMMMMMM! It was my number. Eagerly approaching the cooler next to the stage, I reached to the bottom with both hands, claiming the final portion of animal flesh for the night, a ten pound ham. Like others who came before me, I triumphantly raised the monstrous slab of meat in the air on the way back to my seat, receiving a high-five from the gentleman sitting next to me, who had won a colossal slab of ribs in the previous round. The sweet, delicious taste of pork-based victory.
In the wake of my success at the meat raffle, I felt obligated to stop and prospect some curious looking bars which had caught my attention on the way to Minneapolis the previous weekend. Tavern on Main, which sported a large Schmidt Beer sign in front, was decidedly the first stop, followed by The Yellow River Saloon & Eatery, where I participated in their "all-you-can-eat walleye Friday" while enjoying an extremely rare bottle of Schmidt. I ended the night back at Crow Bar where I was cheerfully welcomed back by the owners after "loosing my meat raffle virginity" earlier, as they liked to say to this city guy.