BEEVILLE – The delicious smell of barbecue enveloped Charco Ranch on Saturday, Oct. 26, where the “Bee Fired Up” BBQ cook-off event was held to raise money for Bee County’s volunteer fire department.
The Halloween-themed event was organized and hosted by Brenda Hughes, the owner of Devil Woman’s Saloon and the Dog and Bee Pub in Beeville.
Todd Schendel participated in the cook-off this year as part of the Bee County Area Go Texan cooking team, which raises money for scholarships for kids. “I’m really happy to be here; it’s a fun event, and it’s for a great cause,” he said.
The Beeville Fire Department is made up entirely of volunteers and relies on the donations of community members to maintain their daily operations. It can cost over $6,000 to outfit a single firefighter, with a helmet, a jacket and pants, gloves, boots, a gas mask and an air pack. All money raised from the cook-off this past weekend will go toward a fund to help outfit the firefighters and make sure they have the clothing and tools needed to protect them, while they risk their lives to save others.
Charco Ranch owner Brenda Hughes was happy to open up her ranch for the event. “The turnout is great; we go all out to make sure everyone has fun,” she said.
While adults on about 15 teams cooked and visited with each other, kids were loving the huge blow-up bounce houses. Everyone got their fair share of chicken, beans, ribs and brisket while they showed their support for the fire department. After the judging was complete, trophies were awarded to the teams for the best tasting BBQ in each category.
Hughes already has plans for next year’s event to raise money for the fire department. “Next year, we’ll be holding this event on October 24, 25 and 26,” she said. “We’ll be doing a big barbecue and we’re planning on having a lot more fun activities for the kids.”
She also spoke about the upcoming plans she has for Charco Ranch.
“I have a vision of turning this ranch into an old Western town where people can come to relax and spend time with their family,” she said.
Housing construction is in progress at the ranch. Hughes said that her goal is to have 125 beds on the ranch in houses that people can rent out.
“We like to do fundraisers, we like to do weddings and family reunions. It’s not done yet but in another four years or so it will be finished and we’ll have a train running through it,” she said. “You’ll have to leave all electronics at home and come just to spend time with your family.”
Next year’s BBQ cook-off event is sure to be just as great as this year’s. The participants agreed that there is no better way to support a local staple of the community and raise money then to be in the company of delicious food and good friends.
Lindsey Shaffer is the regional editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 119, or at regional@mySouTex.com.