BRAWLEY- Barbecue aroma filled the air Saturday afternoon outside of the Brawley Elks Lodge with their first Rib Cook Off and October Fest drawing a hungry crowd.
The South District Rib Cook-Off brought in competing Elk Lodges from Southern California including Brawley, Blythe, El Centro, Indio, 29 Palms, Palm Springs, and Yucca Valley.
The cook-off was started last year in Yucca when the Exalted Rulers of the South District Elk Lodges met after the Elks Convention to discuss collaborating on a project.
“We wanted something that could raise money, bring the lodges together, and just have a good time socializing and being a part of the community,” said Brawley’s Past Exalted Ruler and cook-off organizer Carlos Weir.
According to Carol Lieser, Past Exalted Ruler for Yucca Valley, the Elks wanted to create something that could help their charities while also let everyone have fun, thus the rib competition was born.
Ribs were sold for $2 a rib and all money each lodge raised went towards the individual clubs.
Along with the rib cook-off, Brawley held a beer tasting inside the lodge.There was also a pumpkin patch with games and pumpkin decorating for the children in collaboration with M.A.G. Coalition.
“It’s pretty good, and that they are doing this for charity makes it even better,” said Karah Radcliff.
“We just wanted to come out and support our local area,” said Angela Bianchi, who was attending the cook off with her husband.
Seven lodges competed against each other for best ribs, drawing a crowd of people all afternoon.The one who sold the most was given the title of champion.All money raised went toward Elks Club charities such as Major Projects (aka the Purple Pig) and Elks National Foundation.The money will also go towards local scholarships for each Elks Lodge.
“Our main purpose is for charity, that’s what we do,” said Lieser, “And to help the community, we help in the communities a lot.”
The Elks plan to continue this new tradition with the event going to winner’s city every year.Last year Brawley won the first award and the honor of hosting it at home. Brawley took the People Choice’s award, but Indio will host next year with their first place win, El Centro Elks took second place and the Yucca Valley Elks took third.