Issaquah family takes a swing at ‘Redneck Croquet’

August 16, 2011

By Sebastian Moraga

John Kilpatrick, of Issaquah, pours out the contents of a large pot for a traditional Southern ‘Dump Dinner.’ Photos by Sebastian Moraga

For a game played with big mallets, this particularly croquet game was sedate and relaxed.

The rivalry was elsewhere.

The host was Lynda Kilpatrick, a member of the Kiwanis Club of Kiwanis. The co-host for the “Redneck Croquet” dinner was her husband John, a Rotary Club of Seattle member.

It didn’t get more heated than that. The game itself ended up in a rain-soaked tie and the players took it in stride.

The only thing heated about the July 15 match was a huge pot in the backyard of the Kilpatrick’s home.

The highlight of the game was the subsequent dinner, boiling inside said pot.

“The dump dinner is a tradition,” said Connie Fletcher, a Kiwanis member and former Issaquah School Board member. “Rotary had it, then it was gone for a few years and I brought it back through Kiwanis.”

Born in the South, the dump dinner consists of seafood, meats and corn boiling inside the pot. When they are done, the contents of the pot get dumped on a table and people dig in.

To honor the dinner’s Southern origins, post-game snacks and refreshments consisted of cheap beer, fried bologna sandwiches and Moon Pies.

Fletcher — who donated the dinner and game as part of the Kiwanis’ community auction — laughed as she talked about the game.

“It’s an unconventional croquet game, with very relaxed rules,” she said, “an unusual obstacle course and things you would not find in a regulation court, like a tractor.”

This year’s game did not have a tractor, but it had the feel of a practice more than an actual match, with plenty of do-overs and with Issaquah resident and croquet lover Dan Anderson teaching players about the game.

Anderson, who built a croquet court on his property and hosted the game last year, has described the evening as “a huge party.”

“There’s lots of beer drinking, a huge bathtub-sized pot of seafood stew, corn on the cob and beer, and some other fixings,” he added.

The game born in the prim-and-proper shadows of the British Empire finds a more relaxed imitation in Issaquah.

That is, until Rotarians start talking about Kiwanians and vice versa. Then, people are bound to get feelings hurt, and not necessarily with a mallet.

As the pot boiled and the players waited, John started telling a story about a young Rotarian.

Lynda pounced right in.

“Young Rotarian,” she said. “That’s kind of an oxymoron, isn’t it?”

Sebastian Moraga: 392-6434, ext. 221, or smoraga@snovalleystar.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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