Marcellus companies test BBQ wits
BY PATRICK LEONARD
Wyoming County Press Examiner
Companies working in the Marcellus play took a break from gas activity to show their prowess in making barbecue and raising money for a good cause.
In the inaugural Marcellus Barbecue Cookoff hosted by Williams at the Nicholson Fire Carnival grounds, some 19 teams squared off with all money raised going to support local chapters of the United Way.
The companies and subcontractors serving the natural gas play took part in the day’s festivities, either as barbeque cooks or judges and taste testers.
Companies donated $150 to participate, usually with teams of four members
There was also a People’s Choice voting, in which a person could donate bills of any denomination of their pleasure.
More than $6,000 was cast as votes from 400 participants which served to help crown the People’s Choice Champion, and once all the bills were sorted out the winner was Don E. Bower Construction of Berwick which garnered $3,872 in support.
Morgan Turner accepted the award and noted that not only was his team “happy to be here” with its 180 pounds of pulled pork in the contest, but underscored that the gas industry had served to jump start the whole area’s economy.
All of the money raised will be divided evenly to four local chapters of the United Way: Susquehanna County, Wyoming County, and Wyoming Valley in Pennsylvania and Broome County in New York.
In addition, Williams will match every dollar raised for a further contribution to the United Way.
“We have a long relationship with the United Way,” Williams’ spokesperson Helen Humphries said at the barbeque. “We wanted to become active here in Northeastern Pennsylvania because the United Way does a lot of good.”
There were 19 barbeque teams on hand and the event sold all of its 400 tickets.
The three categories for the barbeque were pulled pork, beef brisk and pork rib. All of the teams had to make enough barbeque for each of the 400 judges to have a sample.
Don Bower’s Kevin Belles said his team served up 180 pounds of pork during the afternoon.
Val Geist of Mountain Energy Services in Tunkhannock said that the key to good barbeque is the way it is cooked.
With that in mind, Geist employed the help of a good friend, Jim Greenley and his special cooker, to prepare the delicious meat she made for the barbeque.
Each of the teams seemed to have their own little secret for preparing not only the best barbeque they could, but also making it a little bit unique so the judges would remember it.
Stephanie Paluda, Nicole Jacobs and Rachael Colley, the Miss Marcellus Meatheads of Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Company (PIOGA), prepared jalapeño poppers, their own spicy version of barbeque that sent judges running back for seconds but also running for a cold beverage to wash it down.
Holly Stratton-Withee, Emmery Withee and Jeff Guillory of S2W Field Services of Tunkhannock prepared their barbeque with a special sauce and a side of beans to give their own unique flavor to the cooked pork.
Donald and Shelley Hohn and Kevin and Barb Dougherty of Hohn Construction Company also added their own special flavoring to their barbeque to give a delectable taste to their meat for the judges to enjoy.
“I feel like this is just a great way to give back to the community,” said Morgan Turner, who was cooking with a team from the Don E. Bower Construction Company. “My belief is that you need to try to help those people who need it. Give back more than you get.”
Some of the judges included teams from Milnes Construction Company, Tomcat Truck Wash, Medico Industries, Cabot, Chesapeake, and Williams itself.
Representatives from the United Way were very pleased with the response of the companies.
“Williams has done a really great job here today and it’s so exciting to see all the people who came out and took part,” noted Wyoming County United Way Executive Director Kristen Huff. “This is a great day.”
While the event organizers said they could not be sure how much money they had raised until after the event was completed, they seemed sure that it was enough of a success to want to try to do it all over again.
“We’re already looking forward to next year,” Humphries said with a big smile.