*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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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….
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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