By Chris Rogers
Gilchrist County and the Gilchrist County Rotary Club partnered together to hold the first annual “BBQ from the Hart” event. On Saturday, October 16, the Hart Springs campground was a busy place to be. Even though we are use to cooler temperatures by the middle of October, the weather was almost perfect for the event.
A lot went on behind the scenes, before hand, that the public didn’t get to see. From meat inspections (for the teams in the BBQ cooking competition), to team meetings, and judges meetings. There is a lot of work that goes into it. Vendors set up Saturday morning just in time for the opening ceremony, where Damon Leggett opened up with prayer, the Bell JROTC presented the colors of the American flag, and Mrs. Pat Watson sang our National Anthem.
The first of the competitions was cornhole. Nine teams started the double elimination tournament and they started whittling away at the competition. It got down to the final three teams and ended with Team Bell Concrete, Mark Smith and Kenneth Tatum taking third place; Second place went to The Great Scotts, Eddy Scott and Scott O’steen; and the winner was Team DJ, Jerome Wilson and Chad Barfield.
During the cornhole tournament, everyone got a visit from the ShandsCair helicopter, which came and landed on the baseball field. After it got stopped completely, visitors were able to walk out, peek inside, and even get their picture next to the helicopter. They always look small in the air, but standing next to it, everyone realized how big of a machine it really is.
With the smell of barbecue smoke in the air, it was time to eat. Everyone had multiple choices of either buying food from food vendors, which included two of the competition teams in the campground, or becoming an official taste tester and having to cast a vote for one of the 25 teams. Judges were given a ballot, a golf pencil, and 25 numbered plastic cups with pork inside. At the end of the day the winner of this voting was awarded the People’s Choice trophy.
After breaking for lunch and getting a good chance to look over all the cars and trucks in the car show, the trophies were awarded for those entries. There were 35 entries in the car show which ranged from old classic cars/trucks, to late model cars/trucks, a race car, and even a rat rod or two. Some of the entries were from the Tri-County area, but some came from as far as Lake City and O’Brien. They gave out trophies to the top 20 picks.
Next, the horseshoe tournament started up. While not as many teams entered it, the competition wasn’t any less fierce, neither was the smack talking. Many of the teams were friends, so it was all in good fun. The results from the horseshoes were: Third place, Team Let’s Go Brandon, Steven Welbers and Russell Williams; Second place (again) went to The Great Scotts, Eddy Scott and Scott O’steen; and the winner was Team Feeling Lucky which consisted of Stephen Stalvey and Kenny Wayne Keeling.
As everyone was waiting on the BBQ teams to make their way from the campground for the final ribbons and trophies to be presented, the Rotary club had their Weber grill raffle drawing. Mr. Harrison Ray from High Springs was the lucky winner of the grill.
Finally, at the end of the event, the hard-working barbecue teams came out of the campground area to the stage area, to see who won. The following are the winners in each category. Peoples’ Choice: #1 Sweet Smoke Q, #2 K & E’s Little Smokers, and #3 Accutech. Chicken: #1 Tillman’s BBQ, #2 Backyard Bros, and #3 Going Yard BBQ. Ribs: #1 GitChewSum BBQ, #2 Keepin it Smokin, and #3 Accutech BBQ. Pork: #1 GitChewSum BBQ, #2 Backyard Bros, and #3 Going Yard BBQ. Brisket: #1 Sweet Smoke Q, #2 Going Yard BBQ, and #3 GitChewSum BBQ. Overall: Grand Champion – GitChewSum BBQ, Reserve Grand – Going Yard BBQ, and #3 Keepin it Smokin.
Hart Springs, Gilchrist County, and Gilchrist County Rotary Club hopes everyone had a great time, and are already looking forward to next year’s event. They plan on holding it the third Saturday in October of each year in the future. Gilchrist County and Gilchrist County Rotary Club would also like to thank all of the sponsors and volunteers.
BBQ from the Hart, a fun day for all
By Chris Rogers