THE SHELL GAME
I was recently honoured by being asked to host Shuck It Forward, a fundraising oyster shucking competition for Bikers For Autism which was held at Chewies in Coal Harbour. It was awesome to see so many people come out to support a cause that helps individuals and families facing autism. The room, and the patio, were packed and the crowd was all over the silent auction bids, which raised a generous amount of money. The weather held up for us too and the soulful sounds of the Tim Sars Trio filled the air.
Now to the goods! This was the first annual competition and the groundwork has been laid for a stellar round of events for years to come. There were legends like Oyster Bob and Todd Macdonald. There were up and comers like Connor Roche and Nicky Annable. Everyone brought their A-Game and once the countdown resumed, the oyster knives were flying. A total of 6 heats lead us to our semi finals and eventually to our two finalists. Chewies, Boulevard, Blackbird, Bearfoot Bistro, Coast, Joe Fortes, Black&Blue, The Five Point and C-Prime Steakhouse all sent their top guns but there could be only one winner. The judges, Robert Clark and " The Moj, " had their work cut out for them ( get it ;), as hundreds of oysters were inspected. Shuckers were docked points for broken shell fragments or grit leftover. Oytsers that weren't fully seperated from the shell were also factored in with a loss of valuable points.
Every one of the entries did a fantastic job, but in the end, we were down to two. Todd Macdonald, formerly of Rodney's, and Jeff Knight of Chewies Coal Harbour took centre stage for the headlining battle. The crowd helped me countdown to a loud "Shuck It!" which indicated the clock had begun. Shells of Kushi and Sawmill Creek oysters were being flung at the judges and I even had to duck a few flying molluscs myself. All in good fun of course, but the $1000 prize was no joke and these guys both wanted it. After a furious pace that timed out at just over a minute and a half, Jeff Knight, the man with homefield advantage, pulled off the win.
He qauffed a cold Red Truck Lager from his newly won trophy and the crowd went wild. The crew from Bikers For Autism, whose slogan is "Look Bad Do Good", were jubilant. The Lords of Gastown were also in the house and there was a real community vibe present. The Tim Sars Trio chimed in and the party continued. For an event that was so much fun, it was amazing to see that people didn't lose sight of the main reason for gathering, which was, of course, to support those in need. Autism has no known causes or cures, two factors which deem attention. Through events like Shuck It Forward, hopefully we, as a global community, can help spur research that leads to positive results and, maybe one day, find a pearl of wisdom.