Stump-speaking at Midway on Saturday took a back seat to socializing. In the parking lot of a gas station, people wearing silly T-shirts, campaign stickers and cowboy hats gathered to raise money for the Central Missouri Food Bank.
The annual fund-raiser features local politicians who want to make that last-minute impression on voters. But policy talk doesn't fit the pace of an event that features "cow-patty bingo," so most speakers try to be funny.
"People are here trying to meet as many people as they can," said Democrat Chuck Graham, who is running for State Senate. He said his speech was more like a stand-up comedy routine than a political speech. "This is a more fun speaking event."
Part of the fun included an auction and a goat and lamb raffle where items were won and then donated back to the food bank to be auctioned off and won again. This process would sometimes repeat several times. By the time the raffle was over, the same goat might fetch $300 to $400 for the food bank.
The most popular animals, however, were the bingo cows.
"Only in mid-Missouri on a Saturday evening would you have stump speaking and cow-patty bingo," said KMIZ's Michelle Linn, who is on the food bank's board and attended the event to show her support for the food bank. .
Linda Thurman of Columbia spent her time socializing with friends and not worrying about politics.
"Nobody has approached me about politics," she said.
Tim Rost of Columbia watched the speakers, who literally stood on a stump of wood, said his concern was supporting the food bank and not worrying about politics.
"The speeches are probably not going to change my mind," he said.