Our penchant for meat raffles nets LA Times story

(PHOTO: Eugene Kim, Flickr Creative Commons license)

(PHOTO: Eugene Kim, Flickr Creative Commons license)

Minnesotans just want to be acknowledged. We see the airplanes flying overhead, the contrail expanding behind them in the cold Northern skies. We want the people on those planes to look down and see us.

Yes, that’s me waving! Yes, see me. SEE ME!

New York and Los Angeles are false idols. We have peace and perspective, and malls … and a music scene that seems like a pretty big deal despite our limited understanding of such things.

We’re unique, too. We’d like that noted for the record.

So you can imagine my excitement to learn that the LA Times did a major “Great Read” feature on the popularity of meat raffles here in Minnesota.

An excerpt:

In 15 minutes Wiener has collected an armful of meat, so it’s time for the meat girls to acknowledge her luck — or, as some losers complain, greed. She’s given a “meat hog” sticker, which she immediately places on her chest to hoots from the table, and later is handed a porcine plastic nose to wear. Often, the evening’s victors are pushed to their car in a shopping cart along with their larder.

White-bearded Gene Bienusa sits glumly with his pile of losing tickets. “Just my luck, one number off,” says the 69-year-old long-distance trucker. He’s wearing a bandanna the colors of the American flag, and the name of his ex-wife, Loyce, is tattooed on his right forearm. “This game must be fixed.”

There is nothing in this well-written story about meat raffles that will surprise you. It is exactly what it claims to be. But it is fun to read this while assuming the internal voice of a yoga instructor living in Pomona. She has come to see the freak show. And we are the freaks.

One of us.

One of us.

Gooba-Gobble. One of us.

We’ve been seen.


  1. Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999), starring Kirsten Dunst, captures the whole thing. Good movie. Looks like a documentary. Very funny. Probably one of my all time favorite movies.

  2. Billy Sung says

    Wanted the richer anthropological slice : the booyah , the polka mass , pickled stuff , Les Kouba .

  3. Jenny Simonson says

    ” Da Range” . A receiver culture in addition to (nothing) everything else . Bill Swerski’s Superfans was rooted in the hermetic snark of ’90’s SNL writers’ flyover treatment of Chicago . This borrowed doesn’t really do shrugging oomph summation , and it originates light linguistic and geographic years away :


Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.