Pork Fest competition produces 1st-place tie

Published 9:08 am Thursday, May 20, 2010

MURFREESBORO — The competition for first place made Pork Fest history here.

Pork Fest Committee member Colon Ballance said on Saturday approximately 750 people gathered at the Jefcoat Museum grounds for the ninth annual Roanoke-Chowan Pork Fest.

Festival-goers browsed vendor tents, listened to music and perused “Pork Alley,” where 21 cooking teams from Roanoke Rapids to Willmington went head to head in both showmanship and onsite competition.

Plates were served during the event’s barbecue meal, which is chopped pork collected from the grilled pigs. The pork is dowsed in Murfreesboro’s “secret sauce.”

For the competition, Susan Harrison, Charlie Martin and Jerry Hart with the North Carolina Pork Council tore apart each of the pigs to test for crispness, firmness and taste.

The competition held a surprise as a single point separated the top three. In the end, the top two competitors were tied, which Pork Fest officials said even five tiebreakers where unable narrow the winner down to one.

Coming in first were Fred Woodard of Smithfield and J.W. Condon of Newport. Prize money for the first and second place spots were combined then split for the two winners.

For both men it was the first time they placed at the festival, though for Condon it was his first Roanoke-Chowan Festival and for Woodard his third time at the event.

“I’m just tickled to death,” said Condon.

“I’m happy if he’s happy,” said Woodard. “We (pork fest competitors) all travel around together so there’s this camaraderie.”

Woodard called festival a “really good one.”

“We feel welcomed here,” he said.

Other winner’s included:

Third Place-Southern Comfort Cooking, Greg Stallings of Wilson

Fourth Place-Just 4 Fun, Danny Blackmon, of Four Oaks

Fifth Place-The Wolfpack Gang, Bruce Daniels, of Roanoke Rapids

Showmanship competition

First Place-Minutemen, Earl Fowler of Halifax

Second Place-Home Cooking, Jerry Tyre of Newsome. Va.