2023 High West Oyster Fest at the Velvet Elk Lounge in Boulder, Colorado

The High West Oyster Fest has been around in some form since 1998, when Big Red F Restaurant Group and Jax Fish House founder Dave Query started an oyster eating competition. Now is has evolved into a charity event that includes not only an oyster eating competition, but a shucking competition, an all-you-can-eat extravaganza and an all around great time. Shuckers were required to present 12 opened bivalves, with points awarded for speed, presentation and quality (contestants were docked for mangled meat and shell fragments). Oyster eaters attempted to down as many of the slippery suckers as possible in 90 seconds; past winners have averaged more than one per second and first place this year took down 112 oysters in that short amount of time. This year, proceeds from the event went to help the Rise Against Suicide foundation which helps provide mental health services to at-risk teenagers. All in all, 5,500 or so oysters were shucked and consumed during the four hour event at the Velvet Elk Lounge in Boulder.