Members club have been around for hundreds of years, finding their roots in old-time coffee houses where men and women would convene and debate the ideas of the day. Here in Southlake, we find inspiration when we get to meet with like-minded people who are culturally curious and passionately engaged in positively impacting their world. We got to speak to Randy Robbins about the local Wild Game Whiskey Society.
We love opportunities to get together here in Southlake, whether it’s a ribbon-cutting, an event hosted by the chamber, a community festival at the square, or a group of people meeting somewhere in town to spend quality time together. The get-togethers seem to have a unique charm and are part of our community’s intrinsic nature and indispensable quality – very similar to great families who spend quality time together.
One such established group is the Wild Game Whiskey Society. The members have met every second month for the past three years, to eat the finest and best prepared wild game, share fine whiskeys, and connect to discuss whatever is topical or interesting at the time. The group of men, from all walks of life, have come to embody the essence of the scripture, “As iron sharpens iron, so man sharpens man” through the society.
Several different events inspired the idea for the group, and Randy Robbins, the founder of the society, wanted to bring a few of the constructs together, the uniqueness of the wild game cuisine included. Acting on a gut feeling and the basics of the idea, Randy sent out the invite for the first meeting in early November 2018, keeping it simple and capping it to only thirty guests. The RSVPs can back quicker than expected and Randy realized there was a genuine interest amongst the men of Southlake.
The group has evolved somewhat since that first invite but its good to see many of the original guests are still around and attend the meetings.
The dinners are a significant part of the evening and what makes the Wild Game Whiskey Society unique. Andy Sedino from Meat u Anywhere BBQ was trusted with coming up with adventurous menus for each meeting and has catered all of them since the very first. No man has gone hungry since (well, at the meetings at least)!
Andy tells us that he felt Randy’s passion for the group when he was going in for surgery, and Randy was the Anesthesiologist. Randy asked Andy if he was sure he’d be alright to still cater the first Wild Game Dinner, to which Andy responded, “Of course I’ll be ready!” At that point, Andy knew how important this was to the gentlemen of the Wild Game Whiskey Society.
As the crowds have grown so, have the food offerings, and Andy shares that it’s been amazing to prepare so many “Wild to Wok on the Wild Side” game meals. Menus have included alligator, venison, elk, eel, quail, dove, pheasant, wild turkey, wild boar, duck, buffalo, and bison to name just a few.
In the lead-up to the first get-together Randy needs to find a spot for the meeting and Mary Grace Thoennes graciously offered to host the members at her home here in town – being central and having more than enough space made it the ideal venue. Since then, Mary Grace’s home has warmly welcomed and hosted the men as the standing venue for the get-together.
Things progressed well for the first fourteen months. The meetings seemed to be working and weren’t overly imposing on members’ commitments or family time. COVID hit and, fortunately, only canceled the March and May meetings. There were a few concerns about the following meeting, but on July 23rd, everything was back on track and over 55 people joined. Since then, attendance has been tracking consistently. Randy tells us new people often arrive and there’s no cap to the number of people who can join and everyone is welcome. Interestingly, there is no membership fee, just a requirement to bring $100 worth of whiskey to your first meeting, made up of no more than two bottles or one really good one!
The whiskey library seems to remain well stocked and looked after, and since the first meeting where there were two full bottles and a few bottles of ‘almost dones’, there’s been no need to re-up it. The last few meetings have seen whiskey sponsors like Belfort come on board and bring a new slant to the meetings. Still, the goal remains to keep it simple and stick to good food and men getting together to connect.
Around September this year, a few members sat around a table at Manny’s Mexican food reflecting on the most recent meeting. Randy said, “What if we push November’s meeting to December and make it a Charity Christmas meeting?”. Biff McQuire thought it would be better to do it earlier so any charities involved could get donations earlier and use them before Christmas. It was agreed, and Randy volunteered to do the hard work of selecting the charities. There was consensus that whichever ones were selected, they had to use the money raised to celebrate Christmas day with kids, they had to tell the kids that God loved them and they had to provide the gospel message to them.
Members were keen to help and quickly put-up matching funds to complement funds raised on the night. Randy met with the charities beforehand, got the whiskey and food sponsored, and teed up a great evening to wrap up the year and raise over forty thousand dollars for three chosen charities.
Wrapping up the year and the fundraising event, Randy says this time of year is a busy one. The initiative was a spur-of-the-moment idea to show the real hearts of the men of the society and of Southlake, to benefit children in need and show them love. He’s delighted with the result and knows there will be a little more time and a chance to do more next year. Still, at the heart of it, it’s the simplicity of a society looking to do good things for those in need while celebrating this time of year.