Fair barbecue more than just a contest



July 21, 2014 - 12:00 AM

A barbecue cook-off and car show will provide a tasty windfall to Iola Ministerial Association’s Community Pantry Saturday to kick off the Allen County Fair.
Iola Rotary Club will bring back the Allen County Fair’s barbecue cook-off, as an aside to its car show. A feature will be more non-perishable food donations and 48 pork butts cooked by contestants that will go to feed the hungry.
Together the events are billed as Smokin’ Hot Cars & BBQ.
The pork butts will be furnished by the Kansas City Barbecue Society in a benevolent gesture. The 100 KCBS Meals Mission aims to help out by giving back to the community.
The cook-off is expected to draw 48 barbecue grillers from several states. While preparing contest food — chicken, pork ribs, pork and beef brisket — each contestant also will cook a donated pork butt.
Rotarian Judy Brigham said the food will be distributed from the Community Pantry to benefit all food programs in Allen County, not just Iola’s.
In addition to the inviting barbecued pork, with each butt averaging about eight pounds, canned and boxed foods will be collected during the contest from contestants and those who meander through the array of cookers in Riverside Park.
The effort to sate appetites of the hungry will go far beyond Iola. The Kansas City group is coordinating a national program to distribute more than 100,000 meals during the next year, through contests it sanctions. By spring 2015, the KCBS expects to have provided 25,000 pounds of cooked pork from the 3,200 pork butts it will donate.
The generosity is prompted by recent hunger and poverty statistics conducted by the government that show nearly 15 percent of U.S. households, containing 49 million people, struggle to put food on their tables. About one in five children in the U.S. live below the poverty line.
The car show will be the Rotary Club’s seventh annual, now named the Neil Westervelt Memorial Car Show. Westervelt, who died a year ago, was instrumental in starting the show. Last year’s drew about 85 entries and the anticipation is the upcoming one will top 100.
Couple that with 48 barbecue chefs, and the first day of Allen County’s annual fair will offer much for many.
The winner of Saturday’s cook-off will receive an invitation to the Jack Daniel’s World Championship Cook-off later this year.
Saturday’s activities begin at 8 a.m. Prizes will be announced at 2 p.m.