By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Effort to bring back wild game feed in 2021
game feed

A 36-year Manteca tradition is coming to an end in 2019.

At least temporarily.

The Costa’s Wild Game Feed – which has taken place every year in Manteca since the early 1980’s and had grown to feed more than 1,000 people every year – will not be held this year at Manteca Trailer and Motorhome.

Originally scheduled for Friday, Dec. 13 at 11 a.m., the event was cancelled after it was learned that the take from the previous year’s hunting and fishing seasons had not been as expected. Also, Jim Costa – one half of the team of brothers that runs Costa’s Machine Shop in Manteca where the even originated – announced that he was preparing to retire and move to Idaho.

While the news may come as a surprise for many, it’s not without a potential light at the end of the tunnel.

“I’ve got some guys that I’ve been talking to and we’re going to work to bring it back next year,” said Costa. “We did this for 36 consecutive years, and it may be something that comes back.”

The event was originally started by Costa’s father after an employee of the family business discovered himself alone at Christmas time with a large family – an impromptu Christmas party where the family fixed up some old bicycles and called up some friends and tried to give the kids a true Christmas experience amidst the hardships that they were facing.

A family of avid hunters and fisherman, it was easy for the Costa’s to call up their local friends and have them bring some of their take – be it pheasant or elk or salmon – to cook up for what became a miniature feast.

Nobody knew that it would blossom into what it became.

Over the coming years the facility where the annual friends and family part started became too small and it moved to a neighboring business until that too couldn’t contain the hundreds of people that would come down to partake in the festivities. When Manteca Trailer and Motorhome opened on E. Yosemite Avenue, the party moved there and has used the showroom ever since to serve more than 1,000 people food that you can’t easily find in stores – if at all.

Local sportsmen – many of whom would go out of state every year for hunting and fishing trips – would set aside a portion of their year’s take so that the event could continue year after year, decade after decade.

The event took dozens of volunteers to pull off – from cooking on the tow-behind barbecue trailers that people brought specifically to the event to serving the platters of things like bear burgers, elk, venison, salmon, pheasant, chukker – and raised thousands of dollars to help needy families in the community through a committee that purchased gifts for kids and provided families with essential items in the spirit of the event’s founding.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.