The fifth annual Sportsman’s Fest will be held Saturday, Feb. 1 at the Lighthouse Church of the Nazarene in Moravia with doors opening at 11:30 a.m.
According to event coordinator Chuck Riggenbach, the free event grew out of an older event, an annual wild game feed, that was held at the church. Riggenbach said that when the man who organized the original event moved to Texas, he asked Riggenbach to take over and the pastor had ideas about how to expand the event.
“Basically a bunch of guys was coming in, bringing weird stuff and daring somebody else to eat it,” said Riggenbach.
That has evolved into a miniature deer classic over the last five years according to Riggenbach. Attendance has also grown exponentially from around 30-40 people each year to about 500. Two years ago almost 700 people attended.
The wild game feed hasn’t been lost though and is still a part of the overall event. This year the feed will be serving cougar and bobcat among other more exotic game animals. Organizers do ask for a free will donation for the meal, but overall the event is free, including the speakers, all the contests and the prize drawings.
Any money collected goes to pay for the event and anything left over is put into a scholarship pool that is also contributed to by the church. A scholarship is given out each year and is open to people outside the church. Riggenbach said it has been given out to students in four or five different counties now.
The event is seen as outreach to the community and a way to provide an interesting and fun experience in southeast Iowa that otherwise wouldn’t be available unless someone was able to travel to Des Moines or another area for an event like the Iowa Deer Classic.