Fire Department Barbecue Raises $1,700
The proceeds of the competition will be used to pay to train new fire volunteers.

By Merissa Green
The Ledger

LAKE ALFRED -- While Lake Alfred Fire Chief Roger Pridgen would've liked to have seen more businesses and attendees participating in the second annual Barbecue by the Lake, he said the event was a success.

"It's neat stuff when you have locals involved," he said. "We're getting a bunch of suggestions we'll use next year.

Pridgen said he hopes the event will get better each year. He did not have a crowd estimate.

The barbecue competition was held May 18 at Lions Park and raised $1,700. It started as a fund-raiser last year to buy equipment for the Fire Department.

This year, Pridgen and his staff decided to do it again and this time to raise money to cover the cost of training for the volunteer firefighters.

For the 16 business sponsors who participated, Pridgen said, the Fire Department was able to cover the cost for the prize money and other logistical items.

Unlike last year's inaugural event, this year got a boost for team competition because it was sanctioned by the Florida Barbecue Association.

In all, 32 teams participated, Pridgen said. The competition had five categories: chicken, ribs, pork, shoulder/butts, and brisket.

The top two prizes went to teams outside of Polk County.

Buzzard Bait Barbecue won grand champion and HomeBBQ.com won reserve champion.

Haines City resident Don Livingston won first place in the backyard competition which is the amateur division.

Mayor Nancy Daley said the competition was successful.

"It was awesome," she said. "I never ate so much good barbecue in my life."

Merissa Green can be reached at merissa.green@theledger.com or at 863-401-6968.