2021 T-Bone Trail · Iowa Food · Southwest Iowa

Cattlemen Ringing the Steak Supper Bell in Red Oak, Iowa

*When I hear that there’s going to be a huge grill getting revved up and filled with steaks….Well, let’s just say that you got my undivided attention. Our trip was sponsored by the Montgomery County Development Corporation and Red Oak Chamber and Industry Association. Some of the meals, services, and goods were complimentary. The views expressed in this blog post are of our own. Now, let’s Gallivant!

There’s plenty of ways to be welcomed into Red Oak. This company from Southern Hills Veterinary, who helps farms and families all over the county was one of the groups that made us feel at home here in SW-Iowa. That’s not all you’re going to see from this group in this Montgomery County Gallivant!

Montgomery County, Iowa

Western Iowa’s inaugural T-Bone trail never once felt like we were doing the same thing over and over. Each county had its own uniqueness and variety that we looked forward to seeing and experiencing with each stop. However, there was one mainstay that showed up quite consistently during our steak inspired summer road trips. We had the pleasure of getting to know local Cattlemen Associations all over the region and that includes an outfit that was prepping for the annual Montgomery County Fair in Red Oak! Let’s get to work….

Beef Up Your Day

The Johnson family is one of several beef producers in SW-Iowa and they joined a great list of farmers that welcomed us in this summer. I love it when they can take some time to show us around and talk about the family business for a little while, and have a good time doing it. Local county supervisor-Randy Cooper, showed me around and took me by several farms before we landed at the Johnson farmstead just outside of Red Oak. The rolling hills of SW-Iowa will showcase some beautiful farmland and welcoming families like this one in Montgomery County. There’s always someone to visit with when you’re traveling rural Iowa, and taking breaks from the day like this is one of my favorite ways of getting to know the area. The Johnson weren’t the only beef producers we met in Montgomery County!

You know there’s going to be some heavy duty cooking when you see a trailer like this with a big’ol Cattlemen logo on the side!

Grab some tongs and start flipping! It was day one of the Montgomery County Fair and the local Cattlemen put the aroma of delicious grilled Ribeyes in the air. The sizzle could be heard from far away and the slow breeze put Iowa Beef on everyone’s mind who happened to get close to the fairgrounds. Dozens of steaks getting charbroiled hits you like beautiful beefy wave every time.

Look at that technique! Tray after tray of marbled Ribeyes for hot steak sandwiches inside the banquet hall.
I told you that healthy portions of Iowa’s juicy cuts of steak hitting a grill can bing in a crowd!
When you see a large pan of these beauties showing up and….Well, what can I say. Just take moment and catch your breath and know there’s a group of Cattlemen somewhere that are very grateful that you’re enjoying your supper.

Some great speakers joined all of us for a delicious steak supper, including Iowa Secretary of Agriculture-Mike Naig! We were touring Western Iowa all summer long and we knew we’d bump into him at some point on the T-Bone Trail. There’s no doubt that we appreciate the farmers that make days and events like this happen. The Montgomery County Cattlemen were not only great to visit with, but they were even better to work with. Even if it was just a couple hours turning some sizzling steaks. That’s an amazing way to break bread with some hardworking and enjoyable locals. Or should I say toasting some Ribeyes? BBQ’ing the beef? Seasoning the day? Let’s think this over.

Look! One of our new buddies from the local vet clinic won this sweet grill set from the Iowa Beef Council here at the Montgomery County Fair! Glad it went to one of the folks that loves taking care of animals that we can cuddle with, and ones that love a fresh salt lick!
One heck of day over a hot grill in Red Oak!

That’s right! I came to Red Oak for a Gallivant and was ready to help get those juicy Ribeyes into the hands of some hungry locals looking to get this county fair humming! We all had a great time visiting and watching the annual awards ceremony that featured some well deserved recipients. And who doesn’t love prizes! Plenty of those were given out at the end of the night and that’s the best dessert course I can think of. Let’s grill again, Red Oak! By the way….Did you think this was the only beef featured meal we had in Red Oak? Not even close!

Locals and fans of this place outside of Montgomery County said we needed to stop here for an outstanding burgers while we were in Red Oak. I wasn’t going to turn down a chance to get a burger at the famous Rainbow Cafe!
Greeting me at the Rainbow Café was this tandem that kept all of us smiling and joking around while we were here. Doing all of that while getting the hot and delicious food to the tables plus enjoying the company with every step. This was another theme we encountered all over Western Iowa and Red Oak kept up this inviting momentum.
Pic 1: I’m going in! Pic 2: That was awesome! I’m going in again!

Legendary burgers finding happy customers every day for many years at Red Oak’s Rainbow Cafe. Thank you to all the fans of this place because this burger was worth the hype! However, I’m feeling like a Chicago theme should make it onto this Gallivant of Red Oak….

Over on the town square of Red Oak is DAC Creamery and it’s not all ice cream here!
The all beef Chicago dog at DAC Creamery! Served nice and hot with all the great toppings that make for a yummy hot dog moment. This tasty delight of the town square actually never saw the sidewalk. I had it taken care of before I hit the front door!
That’s a crew that loves serving up ice cream and all beef moments in Red Oak!

We’ve been to many town squares during our Gallivants and Red Oak’s was enjoying a busy afternoon when I was there. The variety of food and shops was very nice to see. But I wasn’t done looking for some beefy options while I was walking the square!

Look! I’m getting my vegetables! Beef and broccoli at Chen’s Kitchen and an egg roll that stayed scorching hot through most of the meal. And that’s always a very good thing my friends.

Stay Active

I better enjoy the great outdoors that Montgomery County provides after a Red Oak tour I just took. And I’m going to love it!

Montgomery County has some scenic paths through their public lands and finding these areas is always a goal of mine when we’re traveling. Viking State Park, Franek Prairie, Anderson Wildlife Area, and more. Get under those Western Iowa skies whenever you can.

Every acre of prairie we have is a precious one. Montgomery County has scenes like this for all of us to enjoy.

Take A Drive

The random road trip without any set destination is the type I prefer taking above all else. While roaming the backroads of Montgomery County, you can have towns like Villisca popup on the horizon, and I’m not the only one who wanders into this small SW-Iowa town. One of the houses has an infamous past and many of you may have heard of it.

Villisca Ax Murder House has seen streams of visitors and it’s one of the most studied cold cases in history. It’s said to be haunted and it attracts paranormal enthusiasts all year long.

Got some Halloween feels going on don’t you? Villisca knows it’s going to bring visitors into town for this infamous house, but there are some other features of this little town in SW-Iowa. Go get the hee-bee-gee-bees scared out of at that…well, that one house, and then take in some of the local businesses nearby!

Where do you want to go for an afternoon sweet tooth craving? How about the local small town eatery like T.J.’s Cafe in Villisca!
Pie is in T.J.’s logo so you know they’re going to have great slices of it inside!


Towards the edge of Red Oak is the Red Coach Inn & Suites and everything I needed for another great night in SW-Iowa! 1200 Senate Ave 712-623-4864

Directly off of HWY 34 is this pleasant and very enjoyable hotel that’s been hosting Red Oak’s visitors for years. I have taken several trips to Red Oak, throughout my life, and this was the first overnight I would be having in Montgomery County. I was very pleased to have the Red Coach Inn & Suites being a part of it!

The lobby made me feel like I was entering a SW-Iowa lodge that was eager to welcome all its guests. Very inviting atmosphere!
My room was wonderfully prepared and I knew I was going to sleep well. Comfy beds, ample pillows, and a day in the warm sun can usually lead you into a great night of slumber.
I know I’m not the only one that enjoys channel surfing before calling it a night.
Bring the family! Read Coach Inn & Suites has plenty of rooms for that gathering we need to make happen. And we know that hotels like this will come in very handy as the weather gets colder. This Red Oak destination can supply an easy getaway and keep the kids active!

Check-in and start walking through the corridors of the Red Coach and you’ll discover Stadium 34! Full bar, full menu, and very happy company that provided a great evening.

Plenty of flat screen TVs, tables, and bar stools to keep your group entertained while you spend your night in Red Oak!
And look at the size of Stadium 34’s beer pitchers! Served nice and cold at my front row seat from the bar!

Stadium 34 had some fun locals and fellow travelers joining me at the bar with a very positive and fun loving bartender. The locals told me how much they always enjoyed Stadium 34 and I could see why. Myself and the other visitors agreed that this sports bar was going to be a place we’d all be heading back to during our next trip to Red Oak for sure. Yet another reason I would make my reservations for Red Coach Inn & Suites again!

Get after it, morning exercise nation! Red Coach has the equipment to get those calories burned off. They know their guests want to keep a routine and they have a well stocked fitness room.
Complimentary breakfast is ready at the Red Coach!
Red Oak Nutrition is also directly on the Red Coach property and they have some tasty-healthy shakes, teas and coffees! Another way this hotel can make you feel refreshed in the morning.

Wonderful surroundings, a lively bar, complimentary breakfast, a terrific boost of caffeine, and some much needed rest. Thank you, Red Coach Inn & Suites! The staff did a great job and you helped close out a memorable day in Montgomery County with an amusing night, and then sent me off in style with a protein packed coffee in the morning. That’s a lot of reasons to make a return trip to Red Oak’s Red Coach!

Grilling with the local Cattlemen was another Western Iowa experience that I thoroughly enjoyed and I’d do it all over again. They trusted me to help prepare steaks for a very important annual event, and that’s a task I’ll always take a lot of pride in. Having a meal with someone will always be one of the best ways to introduce yourself. An even better way is to sit down with a community and have some steaks together. A big family gathering is what this steak supper felt like to me, and there will always be time in my travels for evenings like I had at the fairgrounds. Eating Ribeyes with a lot of chatter from folks who care for their community and farmers. It was the best reminder I could think of when it came to my road trips over the summer. The Iowa Gallivant, the Western Iowa T-Bone Trail, and my everyday life couldn’t happen without this Montgomery County gathering and others like them. You all did a phenomenal job of beefing up my summer!

Be sure to like the T-Bone Trail on Facebook!

Make your reservation for Red Coach Inn & Suites on their website.

Like Red Oak Chamber and Industry Association on Facebook.

Like Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation on Facebook.

Be sure to click here and see all our gallivants in the Southwest Iowa region!

Like Western Iowa Tourism Region on Facebook.

Like the Iowa Beef Council on Facebook and keep up with info, updates, events, and promotions!

The town square of Red Oak features one of Iowa’s best fountains and the Montgomery County Freedom Rock. Get this one marked off your statewide list and spend the afternoon on the square!

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