The former gold mining town of Oatman, Arizona (population 135) knows how to have some fun. A regular stop for the route-66 travellers, Oatman is known for its wild west shootouts, Oatie – the friendly poltergeist, and its wild burros that wander the streets, welcoming a tasty carrot. But one event on the social calendar is receiving more and more attention as the years pass – the Oatman Egg Fry.

Oatman was a honeymoon stop for Clark Gable and Carole Lombard after their wedding in Kingman on March 18, 1939. They stayed at the Oatman Hotel and their honeymoon suite is still one of the major attractions of the town.

Oatman Egg Fry
The Oatmen Egg Fry is an annual event on the calendar (Photo Credit: Fred Eck).

Every July 4th, around 30 participants , participate in this literal sidewalk egg frying contest in an attempt to create the most edible looking egg. With electricity and fire banned from the competition, magnifying glasses, foil, focus mirrors, and anything that utilises the hot desert sun is firmly in.

One year a participant with a four foot solar mirror, managed to cook an egg in just two minutes.

At noon the eggs are cracked and about 15 minutes later a winner is announced by Fred Eck, the event’s coordinator. Eck resurrected the event in the 90’s from its 1983 original form, back when the competition was between Laughlin, Nevada and Bullhead City, Arizona.

Frying an Egg
This isn’t a competition for amateurs (Photo Credit: Fred Eck)!

That’s not to say that the event hasn’t had its own rule changes. Previous rules stated that the egg had to be cooked directly on the pavement but this was scraped when it was found that the eggs stuck and the pavement never got quite hot enough. Another year Oatman tried to cook the eggs on the motorway but instead of the eggs sticking, this time the people did. Nowadays, neither egg nor human needs to stick to the ground.

The Oatman Egg Fry typically draws in 200-300 observers. Will you be one of them next year?

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About Heather Tucker

Heather is a writer, photographer and explorer of the world with bylines in Archaeology Magazine, Porthole Cruise Magazine, Taste & Travel, amongst others. She is addicted to pen, paper, hotels, organisation and hippos. In addition to Travel Gluttons, you can find her over at Cloggie Central.


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