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Texas Outdoor Writers Hold BBQ Cook-off & Fall Stampede

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Texas Outdoor Writers Association (TOWA) hosts their annual BBQ & Wild Game Cook-Off from October 16-17. The event is part of the TOWA 2020 Fall Stampede October 16-18 at Shaw’s Bend Social Club just outside Columbus.

Participants include teams from across Texas competing in the International Barbecue Cookers Association (IBCA) sanctioned event. The entry fee is $150 for the IBC main event, which features brisket, pork spare ribs, and chicken. Additional entries can be made in the Wild Game Jackpot. These fees are $40 each, or $25 for the Margarita event. Those two categories offer unlimited entries, with a payout at 80% plus $1,500 added money.

All IBCA rules apply at this sanctioned event. The rules are available at Email Herman Brune at [email protected] for entry forms.

Fall Stampede events October 16-18 include the Texas Challenge shooting competitions. The competitions feature rifle, pistol, and archery. Other events include a two-day rodeo, plus live music all weekend. Hands-on demonstrations of new products and information are presented by leading conservation groups.

Back the Blue Rally

Texas Outdoor Writers Hold BBQ Cook-off & Fall Stampede

Photo: Game Warden by Jo Ann Holt

A multi-county Back the Blue Rally that shows support for local law enforcement will also be held at Fall Stampede. Everyone is invited to come out and enjoy the fun, food, and outdoor activities at this family-friendly event. Past sponsors of Fall Stampede include Ducks Unlimited, Texas State Rifle Association, and Texas Parks & Wildlife.

For more information, contact Herman Brune at Shaw’s Bend Social Club, 1173 FM 1890, in Columbus, at 979-732-4707 or [email protected]

My husband and I enjoyed attending Fall Stampede events in 2017 and 2018. We were unable to attend in 2019, but can highly recommend it as a fun, different type of outdoor event. After all, how often do us city folk get a chance to play Texas rancher for the weekend?

Shaw’s Bend Social Club

Texas Outdoor Writers Hold BBQ Cook-off & Fall Stampede

Photo: Old Western Town Jail by Jo Ann Holt

The authentic Western-style activities are held on the 200-acre spread owned by past TOWA President (now Chairman of the Board) Herman Brune. An authentic looking Old Western Town, built by members of a shooting club, is one of the more interesting sites on the ranch. Shooting club members built a saloon with a working (but out of tune) piano. They also built a jail with a cell and a cot and even dug a mine on the property.

For their monthly Cowboy Action weekends, Shooting Club members dress in elaborate costumes they design. They take on identities like Bad Bart, Miss Kitty, or others to help them stay in character all weekend.

Shaw’s Bend Social Club, a country club for folks who don’t belong to a country club, is also located on the Brune Lane & Cattle Company property. RV parking is also available on the premises. Brune lives on the ranch in the historic home built by his great-grandfather in 1886. He was a rodeo bronc rider for many years and still serves as announcer for the ranch’s Rodeo events.

Texas Outdoor Writers Hold BBQ Cook-off & Fall Stampede

Photo: Hailey Johnson

Outdoor writers in Texas first organized shortly after World War II. The late Fred Maly, then outdoor editor of the San Antonio Express-News, encouraged other outdoor writers to attend several outdoor events. They attended a tackle show in Chicago and a Canadian fishing trip but disbanded after two years.

In the early 1950s, a few outdoor editors on large Texas dailies started meeting for informal hunting and fishing trips. During a hunt at Henry LeBlanc’s duck camp near Port Arthur the group organized in order to protest the state’s duck regulations. Now known as the Texas Outdoor Writers Association, in 1959 they elected George Kellam as president. Kellam was then editor of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Texas Outdoor Writers Association (TOWA) promotes ethics and fellowship among its members. It provides a means of exchanging information and techniques that improve the quality of their professional efforts. For more information about the organization, visit