New Heathens
15Oct/09Off

Lunch at Ted’s, With Ted


Went to lunch today at my favorite bison burger joint/Montana nostalgia spot, Ted's Montana Grill. Who happened to be at the booth next to me? The restaurant's namesake, Ted Turner himself.

Kismet. Just before lunch I cheered a news story that said that Ted's gonna' buy a herd of Yellowstone National Park bison and save them from slaughter.

Devoted readers of this blog (mom) know I've paid attention to this particular herd of buffalo. They were slated, poetically, to be shipped to Native American reservations in Montana and Wyoming to be used as food by the tribes.

However the state legislature, shot that idea to hell.

The bison had been quarantined for years in Corwin Springs, MT in pens just outside the northwestern entrance to Yellowstone Park. There they were tested numerous times to make sure they are all disease free. But because of the fuss the buffalo were set to be killed.

The issue here is that some of Yellowstone's buffalo picked up a disease called brucellosis from domestic cattle more than a century ago. Brucellosis causes cows to abort their fetuses. (Factoid: the Warren Zevon song "Play It All Night Long" has a lyric about brucellosis.) Today when bison wander outside Yellowstone they get hazed and shot to keep them from giving the disease back to cattle. Hence the poor buffalo's predicament.

Enter Ted Turner.

A story went up on the AP wire just before luncthime that Ted's gonna' buy some of these Yellowstone bison, which are one of the few genetically pure herds left in the world, and put 'em on his ranch near Bozeman, MT. Ted's long been committed to preserving buffalo and, by creating a bigger market for their meat, making sure there are more of them on American ranches.

Minutes after that story hit the wires, Ted sat down to lunch with Martha Stewart at his restaurant in midtown Manhattan. I did too, with my old high school buddy Nate "Smithfunk" Smith, who I moved to New York with from Missoula, MT.

For a hot second I thought it would be awesome to ask my waitress for Ted and Martha's check, so I could buy him lunch at his own restaurant as a way of telling him I think what he does for buffalo is really cool. Alas, I didn't have the nerve (Ted probably eats free at Ted's, you figure?)

But before Ted left I did shake his hand. I said, "Thank you for buying the Corwin Springs bison herd, thanks for watching out for Yellowstone's buffalo."

"Wow," Ted said. "It's a small world, news travels fast."

Funny statement coming from the guy who started CNN.
Herd of bison in Yellowstone's northwest corner, some of which may be bound for Ted Turner's ranch

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  1. Schwebs, you're cooler than cool.

    Also, I beat Lido!

  2. Alex, you said a mouthful.

    Nate, you continue to live the dream, and a lot of us are living it through you vicariously. So keep it up and keep sharing it with us!

  3. Yay for the bison, Ted and that cool guy, Nate. Nice pic, too.

    See ya on the 10th…


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