Cook-off offers scholarships | New

VALDOSTA — The aroma of delicious barbecue permeated the air, a telltale sign that judges and park-goers were in for a treat.

100 Black Men from Valdosta held the 28th annual Saturday BBQ at Olympic Park, where various vendors not only lit their grills for the title and cash, but also for a good cause: scholarships for college students.

Nathaniel Haugabrook, president of Valdosta’s 100 Black Men, said fundraising is especially important in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We use the funds to help the students we mentor, those who enroll, of course, in higher education. We use these funds to help offset the costs. Some of them will graduate this year and every year we offer between three and four scholarships,” he said.

The competing teams were Blazin’ Hog BBQ, Not Your Uncle’s BBQ, Omega Psi Phi, Creation by Mike’s, Poppy BBQ, Moye’s BBQ, Alpha Phi Alpha, King R&B, Delmonte, Taste Buds, Bernita’s Kitchen, K-Star BBQ, Redd Hott Voyageurs, Big Fred’s BBQ.

The competition was divided into two categories, chicken and ribs.

In the chicken division, third place went to Blazin’ Hog BBQ, second place went to Creations by Mike, and first place went to newcomer Not Your Uncle’s Barbeque, reigning Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Champion.

In the ribs division, third place went to Big Fred’s BBQ. Defending rib champion Creations by Mike again took second place, with another newcomer, Redd Hott Travelers, causing an upset by taking first place.

The winners took home $300, second place $250 and third place $100. All the placers won a trophy to commemorate their delectable work.

Although it has been moved from the kitchen’s usual location, the historic Lowndes County Courthouse, due to renovations, Haugabrook said the organization may consider making the park the permanent location due to the “surprisingly positive” reception from the participants.

“A lot of people who attended with kids liked that there was a play area for the kids, number one. Number two, the space was much bigger; the kids could run and play, and they (the parents) had to hold hands as much as they would downtown when there was traffic, southbound and northbound on Patterson and Ashley. A lot of people were like, ‘Let’s do it here next year,'” he said.