Times photo/KAYLYNN ROBERTS-MCMURRAY
Terry Gust and John O’Flaherty enjoying the Crab Crack event.

By KayLynn Roberts-McMurray

The Annual Crab Crack this past Saturday was sold out 2 days after tickets went on sale in January. When the Ely Elks Lodge #1460 first started this event in 1966 they had 74 people in attendance, last weekend held an attendance of 250 people. The seating is assigned, and you are usually put at a table with friends, family and acquaintances that you know well. Beverly Cornutt puts in a great deal of time coordinating a reservation list, assigning seating arrangements, and any last minute cancellations.

There was quite a waiting list this year, but they were able to accommodate everyone who was on the waiting list, since there were many people who had to cancel their reservation.

This event serves 500 pounds of crab that is shipped to Ocean Beauty Distributors in Salt Lake from Fishhawk Fisheries in Astoria, Oregon.

Volunteers from the lodge drive to Salt Lake to pick up the frozen crab on Wednesday before the event. The crab is thawed and served at just the right temperature.

No cooking is necessary since the crab is cooked in Oregon before it’s frozen. Along with the crab, 60 pounds of coleslaw and 50 loaves of garlic bread, cocktail sauce and 39 pounds of melted butter is also served with dinner.

You arrive to your seat, and a plate of crab legs, a “crab cracker”, and bib awaits each guest.

Make sure you’re not wearing your Sunday best because attempting to be dainty is a losing strategy at this type of event. Breaking apart the crab legs is very much a hands-on activity and may appear a little daunting for a first timer. As you get the hang of it, you start to create this pile of white meat on your plate that you can’t wait to get to, and as you look around the room thinking how primitive this event appears, for most people it’s another great gathering at the table with some friends and family.

You see many guests holding a conversation while cracking open crab legs, pulling the meat off with their hands popping it in their mouth and continuing on their journey of disassembling a crab leg for all of the meat it has to offer.  Some choose to wear the bib that is provided and others try to maintain their fashion trend by opting out on the bib option.

The volunteers keep circling the tables with bowls of crab, waiting for you to flag them over for another set of crab legs.

The White Pine High School Rodeo Club students are hired to set up, serve and clean up for the event. A collection was taken among the patrons that night for the Rodeo Club, and they received over $1,000.

Entertainment was provided by Ray Kilpack from Salt Lake City, Utah.  He is an awesome entertainer and the crowd hung around to dance until close to midnight.

This year the Ely Elks Lodge #1469 is trying something new by holding a second crab crack.  The event is set for Saturday, April 29th. They have already sold half of the tickets for this event. If you are interested in purchasing a ticket, tickets are $45.00 per person. Please contact Beverly Cornutt at 775-293-5209 or email her at bdnutts@sbcglobal.net.

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