Barbecue, cars and more barbecue are just a few of the things that filled downtown Ardmore Saturday.
The 3rd Annual United Way BBQ Showdown was held in downtown Ardmore Saturday and featured several teams competing for barbecue glory. The event, which Valero and the United Way partnered to offer guests barbecue for $10 a plate, with all proceeds going to The United Way for distribution across southern Oklahoma. Valero community relations and executive assistant Sara Donaho said that Valero makes a point to work with the community and provide support to those in need.
“We, as Valero, are huge advocates for The United Way mission,” she said. “We partner every year and do these huge fundraisers and try to provide as much support to the agency as possible.”
The showdown, which is in its third year, has grown every year since its beginnings, according to Donaho. She said the event raised nearly $40,000 in sponsorship dollars and that all the money raised will benefit United Way and its agencies.
“This is actually the third year we’ve done this event and it has grown like two times if not more every year and this year it was so big we moved down here to Main Street,” she said. “All of the sponsors have donated 100 percent of the meats and their goods and all of that to serve for ticket sales, so then on top of that, we have the community coming out and supporting ticket sale purchases. So all of the money, 100 percent, will go back to United Way and then they’ll be able to allocate it out to their partners.”
The showdown consisted of three different levels of cooks (Champion, Corporate and Backyard) and included three main categories: ribs, brisket and pork butt. A beans category was also available for competitors. Donaho said the number of teams has increased significantly with each year and that the level of competition has seen an exponential increase, as well.
“These teams came in and they have obviously a pretty competitive nature and they came in from all over,” she said. “They all want to win top dog here.”
For this year’s event, a free car show from the Blue River Car Club and a kids zone was available to attendees. Donaho said with the change in location, they wanted to bring in more activities for the community to experience during the event.
“This is new, so this year we added the car show with the Blue River Car Club, they brought a bunch of their cars and we brought in a kids zone this year as well,” Donaho said.
In partnering with United Way, Donaho said their goal is to provide assistance to those in need and to bring the community of southern Oklahoma together.
“When we look at numbers of lives touched every year with the United Way partner agencies we’re talking thousands and thousands of individuals that are receiving some sort of assistance,” she said. “We’re trying to make it be an event where people want to come to downtown Ardmore, but also know that we’re supporting all of southern Oklahoma, not just our Ardmore community.”
“Every single individual involved in this we can’t possibly say thanks enough,” said tobi daniel Ervin, executive director of United Way, while addressing the crowd during the event. “You helped save lives in south central Oklahoma in a five county area.”
Donaho said events like the showdown demonstrate the community’s ability to come together and provide support for a cause that will make a difference in lives across the region.
“It’s amazing to come out and see our community at this type of event and it’s amazing to see these cooking teams and companies support our mission and help making things better,” she said.
“It’s great to be part of a community where we can have this kind of a turnout partnered with United Way and have all the agencies participate and bring in extra resources to help us pull this off,” said vice president and general manager of Valero Ardmore Refinery Kevin Lassahn. “Together as a team I think we’ve pulled off a pretty amazing event.”
More photos of the winners and events can be found on ardmoreite.com.