The Hawkeye

Mardi Gras Cook-Off Continues Tradition on Campus

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Greg DuPree

Greg DuPree

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More than five years ago, Benjy Lewis, defensive coordinator for Neville High School, knew he was onto something amazing. Along with being a football coach, Lewis also competed in cook-offs from time to time.

“While talking to coach Mickey McCarty, my head coach, he mentioned that it would be great to put on a cook-off in our area.

We both thought it would bring a really unique event to our area and one that could benefit our football program,” Lewis said.

The fourth annual Twin Cities Mardi Gras Cook-Off was held on Feb. 9 and 10 behind Malone stadium.
Lewis started the event so local families could have something more to get involved in during their free time.

People drove from all over to ULM to compete for first place and bragging rights at the annual steak and barbecue cook-off.

Although the turnout this year was less because of the weather, Lewis hopes to grow the event in number of teams and magnitude.

“I’d love to have some ULM students buying barbecue plates and hanging out listening to music,” Lewis said. “I know I’d have found that really cool when I was going to ULM.”

“Some of these RVs feel like home, but I think you’ll find everything from the largest camper or RV to a two-man pop tent that cookers are sleeping in,” Lewis said.

Charles Hollis, a senior art major, attended the event on Friday. Hollis said he was happy everyone got along so well. “It almost seemed like a family reunion because of how nice and welcoming people were,” he said.

Prizes were on deck for the winners, ranging from beautiful plaques to grand champion belts.

The Dual Sanctioned Steak & State Championship BBQ Cook-Off challenged every cooks’ inspiration. The end results were impressive, to say the least.

“In steak, the surprise was that a woman, Rachel Blue, took the first-place trophy,” Lewis said. However, he also said no one should be shocked, because Blue was a phenomenal cook.

“Rachel has already won two steak championships this year and is in with an early ticket to the world championship in Ft. Worth, Texas,” he said.

The different categories ranged far and wide. Lewis was pleasantly surprised by the competitors.

Individual categories were available for meats like brisket, chicken, ribs and steak.

Overall, there were 45 steak teams and 37 barbecue teams.

Lewis was proud of local team, Dr. Squeal Good, for getting second place in ribs. Ron Gordon, who ran the team, actually tied for first place, but lost the tiebreaker.

Team Czech Cherokee won first place in the barbecue competition.

Tipsy Texan BBQ won Grand Champion. The business division saw Van-Trow Toyota win Grand Champion.

The first place People’s Choice award went to family team, Jack’s Key and Lock. Joshua Campbell took home first for his unique barbecue catfish plate.

Winners from the Twin Cities Mardi Gras Cook-off have gone on to compete at the SCA World Championship and the American Royal Invitationals.

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The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe
Mardi Gras Cook-Off Continues Tradition on Campus