United Way barbecue a big success

   Overcast skies, leftover from Friday’s heavy rains, did nothing to dampen the spirits of participants in the inaugural United Way of Stephens County Barbecue Showdown here Saturday.

  A huge crowd filled Fuqua Park to sample the barbecue cooking of eight expert cooking teams, to enjoy side orders prepared by agencies of the United Way and to support the United Way of Stephens County, now in its 65thyear, in launching the 2018-19 campaign.

  “It felt like a family gathering and that’s just what we wanted,” Adrianne Arrington, the event chairman, said.

  “It was an amazing day, tons better than we ever expected and we can’t say enough about the incredible cookers. There was no shortage of food and they, essentially, fed our entire community.”

  Chris Genn, president of the Duncan Chisholm Trail Kiwanis Club and chairman of the club’s participating Kiddieland Park operations, echoed the praise.

  “It was the best charity event we’ve been a part of in a long, long time,” he said. “The overall event was wonderful and our attendance at Kiddieland was a pleasant surprise.”

  He estimated more than 500 youngsters rode Kiddieland rides in a one-hour time span.

  Organizers said the barbecue was so successful it will now likely become an annual event.

  “It captured the backyard atmosphere we wanted and everybody we asked to help did exactly what we needed,”: Arrington said. “We’re so grateful, so inspired.”

  Cookers provided beef brisket, pork butt, pork ribs, beans and ice cream while agencies offered Mexican corn and a variety of desserts.

  Smokin J BBQ was the day’s big winner, claiming The People’s Choice Trophy in addition to first place finishes for ribs, pulled pork and beans. Up in Smoke placed first in brisket and Bone Shack BBQ claimed top honors in ice cream.

  The Tilley BBQ Team post second places in ribs and ice cream while Racks, Ribs and Suds placed second in brisket and beans. G&S Smokers was second in pulled pork.

  The barbecue was part of a two-day package that officially launched the United Way of Stephens County’s annual fund-raising campaign.

  Campaign leaders, with the Duncan Demon band forming large U and W letters in the background, received their first large check of the campaign from L.E. Jones Operating Inc. at halftime of Friday’s Duncan football win over Elgin in Halliburton Stadium.

  Agency partners of the United Way are CASA of Southwest Oklahoma, Christians Concerned, Douglass East Side Senior Citizens Center, Duncan Area Literacy Council, Duncan Community Residence, Duncan Senior Citizens Center, Gabriel’s House, Girl Scouts of Western Oklahoma, Heartline 211, Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Marlow Samaritans and Women’s Haven.

  The United Way of Stephens County also coordinates Readers & Leaders in the Duncan Public School System, A Day of Caring and Dine United.

  For more information about the United Way or to make a contribution to this year’s campaign, call (580) 255-3648 or contact the United Way at P.O. Box 1632, Duncan, OK 73534.