September 20, 2006 by

Bruce Ruth


Categories: Business

bruth.jpgBruce Ruth, the entrepreneur who made the town of Severence, Colo., famous for selling Rocky Mountain Oysters, died on Aug. 23 following a stroke. He was 73.
Born in Evans, Colo., Ruth first made a name for himself as a stock car driver. His aggressive driving skills came in handy during the Korean War when he served in the U.S. Army as a staff driver for Army officers. Upon his return to the states, the 25-year-old Ruth opened Bruce’s Bar, a Colorado establishment that operated under the motto “Where the geese fly and the bulls cry.”
Bruce’s Bar began offering Rocky Mountain Oysters in the late 1950s. Back then, Ruth told patrons they came from the nearby Poudre River. However, the bar’s famed appetizer wasn’t shellfish at all. Instead, the “oysters” were breaded and deep-fried bull testicles purchased from local meatpacking plants. Also known as cowboy caviar, mountain tendergroins, prairie oysters and swinging beef, these delicacies are considered by some to be an aphrodisiac. To others, they’re merely a tasty treat or a gastronomical adventure.
Tourists from all over the world — including Julia Roberts, John Elway, John Wayne, Rob Zombie and President George W. Bush — came to Bruce’s Bar to taste these western tidbits. Rocky Mountain Oysters became so popular that Ruth had to take out contracts with cattle ranchers in New Zealand and Costa Rica to produce the two tons of appetizers he sold on a monthly basis.
Every September for the past 24 years, Ruth hosted the annual Nut Run and doled out his bar’s specialty to thousands of motorcycle riders. This year, the bar plans to donate $1 of every all-you-can-eat Rocky Mountain oyster purchase to Hospice & Palliative Care of Northern Colorado in memory of Ruth. His son, Steven Ruth, a London-based businessman, plans to keep the bar open.
Ruth also served on the Severance town council and helped restore wetlands that attracted migratory Canada geese. He received the Severance Citizen of the Year Award in 2005.
[Update: On Jan. 31, 2007, Bruce’s Bar served its last basket of Rocky Mountain Oysters and closed its doors for the final time.]

4 Responses to Bruce Ruth

  1. Bob Mahler

    I first went to Bruce’s Bar in 1966, Fort Collins Greeley, Windsor, and surrounding area’s was an up and coming goose hunting hot spot. Bruce’s Bar was the focal point and geathering spot for hunters who were on the learning curve. Bruce offered tips, as well as his hunting boxes for those who did not have access to private land. The food was great, Linda always had a smile on face and it was a releif at the end of the day to stop for a good meal, drop the birds off at the pickers. I will miss Bruce and Bruce’s bar. I am glad I had the chance to know and hunt with Bruce.

  2. Bob Hannigan

    What memories an individual can have. Bruce’s was a grand adventure. In 1975 I started Goose hunting. My oldest brother had been to Severence to hunt during his days of going to school at UNC. He told me we were going to meet at 4:00 am to leave Denver to drive to Severence for the days hunt. I remember saying to him, why are we leaving so early. He said we were going to eat breakfast at Bruce’s before we go hunting. He said Bruce’s was where we would get our blind. Ahh, the breakfast. Rocky Mountain Oysters. Initially it was difficult to imagine but then through the years it became the norm. The blinds were pill boxes lined up accross the road from the property of Windsor Resevoir. The days I spent in those blinds with my brothers are some of the greatest days of my life. Fabulous memories. Bruce’s played a huge part in those memories. Oh yea, and the dropping off of the birds at Bruce’s and getting out of cleaning them. I miss those days.

  3. Paul Rodgers

    I started hunting at Bruces Bar in 1977. A few years later, I was hunting with Bruce himself. That man could handle a 12 gauge, and of course we always had a blast. Driving the backroads from Severance to Eaton and “who knows where”, we had a great time. Before we’d leave Severance, he’d have me load 2 coolers from his garage. Mine was full of iced-down Budweiser, and his with 2-3 bottles of Absolut Vodka and Tonic. I guess he figured we might have a mechanical breakdown 🙂
    Bruce! You taught me so much, and I’ll never forget you and how to run a successful Goose Hunting business.

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