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Get tickets now for popular SIU Buffalo Tro, set for Nov. 17

Provided by SIU News

CARBONDALE, Ill. — The Buffalo Tro, a popular longtime Southern Illinois University Carbondale tradition returns to Touch of Nature Outdoor Education Center on Nov. 17, and tickets are available now.

The tro is inspired by the ceremonial meal that was common among Indigenous Plains peoples and the Southern Illinois community embraced the tradition decades ago. The relaxing, immersive experience features a meal of steaks served with a baked potato, salad, rolls and dessert. A vegetarian option is available as well. Participants are welcome to gather around the fire and enjoy the evening together. Each ticket for the Touch of Nature fundraiser covers a meal, two glasses of wine or beer and musical entertainment by Curt Carter and friends.

Special tradition

The buffalo tro tradition traces its history at SIU’s Touch of Nature back more than half a century. Thousands of people have enjoyed the ancient ceremony that the Native Americans used to feed their entire tribes, who once travelled great distances in search of bison. The animals provided the people with food, clothing, tools and other necessities. On the plains, firewood was scarce, so they cooked the fresh meat directly on buffalo chip coals.

Today, cooks at Touch of Nature prepare a fire pit of oak, hickory or maple wood and burn it for 3-4 hours, then rake the coals into a 6- to 8-inch-deep bed. Steaks are cooked directly on the hardwood coals where the intense heat cauterizes the meat pores, keeping the juices in, and afterward, steaks are scraped or ‘clinked’ to remove the coals before serving.

Lloyd B. Sharp brought the tro to SIU with support from Delyte Morris, then university president, and William Freeberg, an SIU Carbondale recreation visionary who helped create Touch of Nature. Organizers say proceeds from the tro are vital to the support of Touch of Nature’s mission to provide ongoing environmental, inclusive, experiential, educational and outdoor programs.

Get tickets now

Tickets are $50 each or $375 for a table that seats 8. You can purchase tickets online now. For more information, call 618-453-1121 or email ton@siu.edu.


Christi Mathis — student affairs; diversity, equity and inclusion; business and analytics; education; health and human sciences; psychological and behavioral sciences; innovation and economic development; international education.

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