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Slimmed-down cook-off helps Eastpoint VFD

It wasn’t the same big shindig that the Eastpoint Volunteer
Fire Department is used to, but the 20th annual charity rib cookoff,
which the department sponsors every year the third week of March, still brought
in much-needed funds to the department.

Chief George Pruett said the pre-sale of Boston butts,
corporate sponsorships and entry fees should yield the department in the
neighborhood of $16,000 to $18,000, enough to help pay-off the remaining debt
on a $349,000 2020 Toyne Class A pumper that the department had delivered to
them last August.

“In fact we have years where we didn’t make as much as we
did this year. Our corporate sponsors stepped up,” said Pruett, of the
scaled-back event. “I don’t think we could have asked for it to go any better.

“We ordered a little bit extra, and we sold quite a bit,” he
said. “And the competition went well.”

Organizers were able to wrangle 11 BBQ teams to take part in
the cook-off, and with the help of St. George Island’s Gail Riegelmayer, they
assembled two tables of four judges each.

“Without those cook teams you basically have a rib sale,”
said Pruett.

Helping to bring in competitors from Georgia, Ira Kelly, of
Bayshore Porkers, ended up winning the top prize, for the second time in three years,
since last year’s event had to be completely cancelled.

As it turned out, Kelly kept the trophy, but donated his $500
in winnings back to the department. “It was a blast as always,” he said.

One of the teams Kelly had drawn here from Georgia, the Serial
Grillers, took the runner-up spot, while Richard Wade’s Brag N Bones ran third,
John Solomon’s 10-4 BBQ fourth, and Double ‘D’ Smokers fifth.

Since the cook-off, closed to the public, didn’t have any
sort of auction this year, the department is weighing doing some sort of
auction later in the year, perhaps as early as August, and it could be live, or
online, or silent. “We haven’t decided yet,” Pruett said.

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