The first sign is the sight and smell of smoke wafting up behind the Washington Capitol. Then you notice a small group of men wearing Stetsons getting a large grill ready for cooking.
Could it be? Yes, Thursday is Beef Day! For Capitol Campus carnivores, it’s a highlight of any legislative session. For one thing, you get a free and tasty lunch.
The annual event, hosted by the Washington Cattlemen’s Association, was scheduled from noon to 3 p.m. between the Legislative Building and JLOB.
Beef Day has been a longtime tradition in Olympia. This 1962 photo (below) kept by the State Archives shows Gov. Rosellini in his office with a Beef Princess and a platter of roast beef. The photo comes from the Susan Parish Photograph Collection, 1889-1990.
(Photo courtesy of Washington State Archives)
(Jack Field of the Washington Cattlemen’s Association. Photo courtesy of Sean Lanksbury.)
Raising cattle when wolves are nearby is a challenge for ranchers, especially nowadays with the latter being a protected species.
That was one of points made by Washington Cattlemen’s Association Executive Vice-President Jack Field and former WCA President Rick Nelson, featured speakers at a noontime “brown bag” event hosted Thursday at the Washington State Library in Tumwater. Field and Nelson discussed raising cattle and ranching under the state’s Wolf Conservation and Management Plan, as well as ranchers’ concerns about their livelihood as wolf packs increase throughout Washington.
Field told the gathering that a key question is how ranchers find middle ground between protecting livestock and meeting wolf recovery objectives. He said ranchers are trying to secure funding from the Legislature for mitigation (example: providing a protective barrier between predator and prey) and compensation. The Legislature’s scheduled 105-day regular session ends Sunday. A special session is highly expected.
According to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, there are seven confirmed and two suspected wolf packs in northeastern Washington, and three confirmed packs and one suspected pack in north-central Washington. There are no wolf packs reported in Western Washington.
The gray wolf is listed as a state endangered species throughout Washington and is endangered under federal law in the western two-thirds of the state, according to WDFW.
The noontime talk by the cattlemen came on the heels of the State Library displaying a “Wolves in Washington” exhibit earlier this year, courtesy of the Burke Museum in Seattle.
(Photo courtesy of Benjamin Helle)
Maybe it was seeing the cattlemen in their cowboy hats. Maybe it was getting a savory whiff of meat on the barbeque. Or maybe it was just knowing that a tasty lunch was available – for free.
Next to sine die, Beef Day is one of the most anticipated days of the legislative session, and this year’s lunch was a smoking success, attracting hundreds of legislators, staffers, lobbyists and visitors to the Hill Thursday.
The popular annual event is sponsored by the Washington Cattlemen’s Association.
It’s that annual event during legislative session in which carnivores rejoice and vegetarians avoid.
It’s Beef Day.
The state Cattlemen’s Association is cooking up a BBQ between the Legislative Building and Cherberg Building on Thursday between noon and 3 p.m. As you can see in the photo, the cattlemen were already cranking up the grill this morning in preparation.