A last-minute change of location and sweltering August temperatures didn’t deter Steve Turcotte or the teams slaving over hot barbecue pits.
The fundraising barbecue cookoff, originally scheduled for Rincon’s Macomber Park, was moved to Ulmer Park in Springfield. Temperatures in downtown Springfield also soared into the upper 90s.
But the money raised — including the entry fees and prize money — was put back into the fund for the family of Gregory Shadley, a 15-year-old
student at Effingham County High School diagnosed with kyphosis scheuermann’s disease. It is a skeletal disorder that results in a “wedging” of the veterbrae.
“It’s all worth it,” said event organizer Steve Turcotte. “It’s all worth it.”
The competition grew out of a Facebook message between Turcotte and Lynn Jarriel of Pot Belly Barbecue. They were jousting verbally on Paula Deen’s Facebook page.
“How are you going to beat Paula Deen when you can’t even beat me?” Jarriel said of his post to Turcotte.
“That’s how it started,” Turcotte said.
Smokin’ Pig Tail won the chicken category while Mutha’s won the ribs and the pork butts went to the City of Springfield.
Turcotte wants the barbecue cookoff to become an annual event and is exploring his options for next year — particularly holding it during a cooler time of the year.
“I’m going to do it in winter,” he said.