RIDGEWAY — Pig on the Ridge was a hit despite the weather, and anyone attending can attest to that.
Streets and fields were lined with parked cars every which way in and out of Ridgeway and for good reason. While some got bogged down with the weather, plenty were there to help them out and keep things rolling.
While the weather was soggy and a bit chilly, BBQ masters from all over brought the heat. In all, there were 59 cook teams competing.
While it may not seem that you could fit 59 cook teams in Ridgeway, Tom Connor said that there were normally more cook teams involved.
“We had some folks that usually come that would have been here but they were impacted by the flooding,” he said.
Part of the funds raised actually went to support those impacted by the flooding this year. The steering committee donated $2,000 to the American Red Cross to aid in flood relief efforts. Despite the flooding, though, and despite the weather, Ridgeway was crawling with hungry fans of the south’s favorite treat.
After countless hours of preparation and cooking, the cook teams submitted their fare to judges from the South Carolina Barbeque Association to determine whose was best. In the professional division, it was Firetower BBQ who just edged out Up In Smoke and Steel Smok’n Smokerz.
In all, the 59 cook teams cooked over 8,000 pounds of pork, and every scrap of that four tons was sold in just a few short hours.
On top of all the revenue from cook sales, the impact on businesses in Ridgeway is profound. While those numbers are incredible themselves, it’s what happens after the festival that is truly impressive.
Each year, funds generated by Pig on the Ridge go back to the community to provide toys to underprivileged children. Each of the last four years, Pig on the Ridge has generated $6,600 toward that effort. Through all of the 17 years, Pig on the Ridge has donated more than $80,000 to faith based groups helping families during the holidays.
Connor expressed his gratitude to the town, the cook teams, and sponsors. None of it would be possible, however, without the involvement of the community. There were over 200 volunteers helping this year.
“You can’t serve that much meat and do all that needs to be done without a supportive community,” Connor said.
Reach James Inabinet at 803-635-4016.