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Swine lovers flock to M’boro

MURFREESBORO – Organizers estimated Monday that more than 900 people took part on Saturday’s annual PorkFest on the grounds of the Jefcoat Museum in Murfreesboro, with visitors coming from as far away as Fayetteville as well as throughout the Tidewater area, including Norfolk and Chesapeake.

“A busload came from Emporia,” said PorkFest Treasurer Cliff Collins.

As judging was under way late Saturday morning, Jimmy Gray, whose responsibility it was to shepherd the judges, making sure they had what they needed to do their jobs, explained that competing teams were given their pigs about 10:30 p.m. Friday and judging started about 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

Twenty-two teams participated in this year’s event.

“Some trim fat, wash down, etc., before they actually start cooking,” Gray explained.

Judges included David Evans, Charlie Martin, John Adams and a judge-in-training, Marshall Askew.

The winning team of the 2009 edition of PorkFest was the Down Home Cookers team headed by Joe Peterson of Roanoke Rapids. Peterson’s team holds the current state championship.

Second place went to Earl Fowler and his Minutemen Cookers of Halifax.

Third went to David Burke, The King Cooker, of Margarettesville.

Placing fourth was Russell Snider and his Pot Belly Pigs of Halifax.

Greg Bowen’s Family Tradition team of Newport took fifth place.

First place for Showmanship went to Earl Fowler and his Minutemen Cookers with their patriotic theme.

Second for showmanship went to Steve Ivy and his Nuth’in’ Butt Fun team from Zuni, VA.

Organizers said 784 ate pork plates at the event and 390 toured the museum during the day, which also displayed a show of more than 50 antique and specialty cars displayed up and down the street in front of the museum.

Colin Balance was chairman of the event; Brenda Watson was in charge of serving the meal after the judging; and James Hutchison was in charge of entertainment.