The 54th Annual Hopkins County Stew Festival endured through steady rain and mud on Saturday, October 28, to crown winners in four cooking categories at Buford Park.
The rain, which started before dawn and continued through the entire morning, didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the cooks, who provided chicken and beef stew for several thousand people who waded through the mud to participate in the festival.
“A big thank you goes out to our stew cooks, who met the challenge of cooking over an open fire in a steady rain and helped keep the tradition of the stew festival going,” said Butch Burney, president of the Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce. “And another thank you to the residents who came out to the park prepared to have a good time and to get their fill of stew in the rainy weather.”
The 54th stew contest, presented by title sponsor Alliance Bank, had more than 140 cooks turn in samples to judges despite the challenging conditions. With Signature Solar providing free tickets for children 12 and under, no one went home hungry. On Friday night, City National Bank provided the activities, which included the appetizer contest and concert by Dubb and the Luv Machines.
Below are the stew contest winners:
First Place Super Stew Chicken winner was the team of #11 Linda Blount and Brandon Brewer, sponsored by City National Bank. Republic Services provided their prize money of $500, and their winning quart of Super Stew Chicken was purchased for $900 by Interstate Body Shop.
Second place Super Stew Chicken was won by #25 Kimberly Kirkland and Danne Chaney, sponsored by I3 Verticals. The Sulphur Springs News-Telegram invested their prize money of $250, and the quart was purchased for $500 by Hampton Inn.
Third place Super Stew Chicken went to #9 Don Sapaugh and James Van Winkle, sponsored by City National Bank. Farm Country supported their prize money of $100, and their stew was purchased for $300 by Jay Hodge Chevrolet.
Honorable Mention Super Stew Chicken was #59 Khrista Brown and Gary Friddle, sponsored by Northeast Texas Farmers Co-op.
First Place, Super Stew Beef winner, was the team of #482 Steve Littlefield and Dwayne Sears, sponsored by Ben E. Keith. Brian Toliver Ford Lincoln provided their prize money of $500, and the quart of Super Stew Beef was purchased for $900 by Clayton Homes.
The second-place Super Stew Beef award was won by #123 Brent Williams and Mariam Williams, sponsored by Bulkley and Associates. The Sulphur Springs News-Telegram invested their prize money of $250, and the second-place Super Stew Beef was purchased for $500 by Oncor Electric Delivery.
Third place Super Stew Beef was won by #468 Garrett Glass and Laura Glass, sponsored by Guaranty Bank. Jiffy Signs supported their prize money of $100, and their third-place Super Stew Beef was purchased for $300 by Texas Heritage National Bank.
Honorable Mention Super Stew Beef was #477 Kelley Perry and Kaley Williams, sponsored by EMC Hauling.
First place chicken stew winner was the team of #211 Kristen Richmond and Charlie Usry, sponsored by Discount Wheel and Tire. Farmers Electric Cooperative provided their prize money of $300, and their first-place chicken stew was purchased for $600 by GDC Industrial.
The second-place chicken stew winner was the team of # 4 Shane Green and Jessica Green, sponsored by Little Caesars. Nottingham’s SS Dodge provided their prize money of $150, and their second-place chicken stew was purchased for $450 by Let-R-Rip.
Third place chicken winner was the team of #30 Luke Kerby and Seth Roberts, sponsored by Cross Country Communications. Bear Littleton State Farm provided their prize money of $100, and their third-place stew was purchased for $250 by Farm Country.
Honorable Mention Chicken Stew was # 215 Michael Williams and Tim Berger, sponsored by Grocery Supply.
First place beef stew winner was the team of #202 Gary Simmons and Aaron Davis, sponsored by Bob Evans Foods. Nottingham’s SS Dodge provided their $300 prize money, and their first-place stew was purchased for $600 by Heath Hyde, Attorney at Law.
Second place beef stew was the team of # 478 David Slaughter and Josh Hill, sponsored by Slaughter’s Barbecue. Nottingham’s Sulphur Springs Dodge provided their $150 prize money, and their second-place stew was purchased for $450 by Farm Country.
Third place beef stew was the team of # 61 Debbie Horton and Benji Brown, sponsored by Northeast Texas Farmers Co-op. Farm Country provided their $100 prize money, and their third-place stew was purchased for $250 by G3 Mercantile.
Honorable Mention Beef Stew was #122 Bill Owens and Beverley Owens, sponsored by Jay Hodge Chevrolet.
Best New Stew Cook was site # 490 Rachel Mejia and Candace Evans, sponsored by The Groom Room. Bright Star Baking sponsored their $100 prize.
First place in the Tailgate Appetizer Contest was site # 204 Gary Simmons and Aaron Davis, sponsored by Bob Evans Foods. AK Gillis and Sons provided their $200 prize.
The Tailgate Appetizer Contest second place was site # 103 Josh Key and Scotty Nguyen, sponsored by Community Bible Fellowship. Bear Littleton State Farm Insurance provided their $100 prize.
Tailgate Appetizer Contest third place was site # 126 Drew Smith and Trey Clark, sponsored by Safety Control. Northeast Texas Choral Society provided their $50 prize.
The campsite and costume winner was site #95 Cydney Williams and Cami Lane, sponsored by CWL Underground. Super Handy Convenience Stores provided their $200 prize.
The John Chester Award for Super Campsite winner was site #210; Juan and Ashley Ortiz, sponsored by The Rustic O. Robinson Benat Construction Co., provided their $250 prize.
We would also like to thank the following sponsors who provided products for the contest:
Alliance Bank – Title Sponsor
City National Bank – Friday night Sponsor
Signature Solar – Kids Eat Free
One Church – Fun Zone Sponsor
Red River Credit Union – Stew Market Sponsor
Credit Union of Texas – Judges Room Sponsor
Summit Dental generously provided our service tents, CHRISTUS Mother Frances Hospital-Sulphur Springs, Coldwell Banker Watson Company, and Bob Evans Foods.
The other sponsors that we couldn’t live without are Saputo, Southwest Dairy Museum, Sulphur Springs Country Club, Cross Country Communications, Nunez Roofing, Latsons.com, Signatech Solar, Chili’s, Stonecreek Solutions, Diversified Storage Solutions, Professional Land Title Co., Berger Horticultural Products, Northeast Texas Janitorial Supply, Legacy Ag Credit, Hope Family Fellowship, Travel Time RV, Central Baptist Church, Deep Routes Coffee, Chick-fil-A, Jeff Post, Hopkins County EMS, and CJ’s Custom Transportation.