BBQ challenge next weekend to benefit Sumter Red Cross

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The Tom Garrity Firefighter BBQ Challenge will take place Friday and Saturday, Nov. 17-18, at Sumter County Fairgrounds, 700 W. Liberty St.

The competition is named after a former Sumter businessman, civic leader and volunteer fireman who was well known among the firefighter community in both Sumter and across the state, said the event's organizer, William "Dutch" Holland.

"He was a great friend to the community," he said.

The Anything Butt competition is from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday. Competitors may cook anything "from lobster to rattlesnake" but not pork. Samples are $1 each. A $100 People's Choice Award will be determined by the number of $1 tickets collected.

"BBQ - By the Sandwich or by the Pound" will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Awards for firefighters include a Firefighter's First Place Pork trophy and a People's Choice Trophy. Competition awards include First Place Pork, $800 plus plaque; Second Place Pork, $300 plus plaque; Third Place Pork, $100 plus plaque; First Place Ribs, $200 plus plaque; Grand Champion, $200 plus trophy; and Reserve Grand Champion, plaque.

The competition is sanctioned by the Southern BBQ Network, and cooks must abide by the group's rules.

A door prize at the competition will be a custom-built barbecue grill.

"It was made for us here locally in Sumter," Holland said. "It is a pull-behind-your-vehicle grill with two internal burners and one external burner."

Holland said the grill will be displayed behind the Sumter Combat Veterans entry in Saturday's Sumter Veterans Day Parade on Veterans Day.

"Anyone who buys a ticket can win the grill," he said. "You do not need to be present to win."

Visitors can also see a fire truck show, an Explorer/Junior Firefighter skills competition and enjoy music and entertainment.

Tickets to Saturday's events are $10. Children age 10 and younger are admitted free. One person will win a stainless steel grill donated by Sumter ReMax Realty.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the American Red Cross.

For more information, visit www.sbbqn.com/firefighters-bbq-challenge.html or call (803) 775-2363.