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Habitat lays down barbecue challenge
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If you think you know your way around a grill, then the Habitat for Humanity wants you to put your skills to the test.

The Effingham County chapter of Habitat for Humanity is holding “Pigging Out for Habitat,” a fundraiser for the organization, on Aug. 23 at the Effingham County Fairgrounds in Springfield. The highlight of the event will be an International Barbecue Cooks of America-sanctioned barbecue cookoff.

“We’re coming out to have a good time and raise some money for Habitat,” said Brett Gordon, president of Effingham Habitat’s board of directors.

The competition is open to any and all grillmasters and their teams, Gordon said. Competition will be held in four categories — chicken, pulled pork, beef brisket and Brunswick stew.

A grand champion will be determined from the first three categories and will take home a $500 cash prize. The total purse available is $4,100, and first, second and third place prizes will be awarded in each category. First place is worth $400, second $300 and third $200. Team registration is $125, and teams may enter more than one category.

“We’re looking for local barbecue teams,” Gordon said. “You don’t have to be a seasoned veteran. You’ve got just as a good a shot as the big boys.”

Gordon also is inviting restaurants from the area to take part in a separate contest. The winner of the restaurant category will get a trophy but not a cash prize.

“That’s more for bragging rights,” he said. “We’re hoping that’s going to be a fun thing for the restaurants to get into.”

Judging will be done on a double-blind format and most of the judges will be local.

“Everybody’s got their own choice of what barbecue should taste like,” Gordon said.

Aside from barbecue, Habitat also wants church choirs to go up against each other to see which is the best.

There will be activities for the kids to enjoy, from inflatable rides to dunking booths. Admission is free and festivalgoers can purchase armbands for unlimited rides or pay for each individual ride.

Barbecue plates will be sold at the event as well.

For entry forms for the barbecue and church choir competitions, visit Habitat’s Web site at, or by calling 826-6433 or 228-5363. Habitat also will have a booth at the National Night Out in Springfield with forms available.