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The voice of Big Ass Turkey Legs says farewell

[ 3 ] August 30, 2011 |

One of Iowa City’s most well-known tailgating celebrities is calling it quits.

Chuck Ford, the booming voice behind the Big Ass Turkey Legs stand said Tuesday he won’t be coming back to Melrose Avenue for another season. Ford had hawked the king size drumsticks for 17 seasons.

“Through a lot of tears…I decided to bail,” Ford said.

Ford said there were numerous factors in his decision to hang up the headset he used to attract gameday revelers to the turkey leg stand year after year. At 69, Ford said working gamedays was beginning to take its toll. He had to prepare on Friday, work all day Saturday and recover for Sunday. On Monday, he was back to work selling cars at West Branch Ford.

“It’s not just a one-day affair,” he said.

Ford said he also owed it to his wife.

“It’s come time,” he said. “It’s just time to go.”

Ford said one thing that was not a factor was the city taking steps this year to regulate the gameday vendors and require permits. Ford said he was in support of the regulation.

The Big Ass Turkey Leg stand will go on, however. Ford said Craig Ireland, the meat market manager at Iowa City’s First Avenue Hy-Vee, will keep serving up the meaty treats. A passing of the torch of sorts will take place Saturday before the Hawkeye’s home opener.

“I’m going to come over, make sure things are set up and I’m taking off,” Ford said.

Ford said the biggest change for fans will be him not being there and he understands that might upset some fans. However, Ford said he had faith in Ireland. Ford said Big Ass Turkey Legs will also be for sale during home and away games at the Iowa City Moose Lodge. Ireland was off Tuesday and his home phone number is not listed.

“All good things must come to an end,” Ford said. “The institution goes on.”

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

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