Good food for a great cause in Winter Haven - FOX 13 News

Good food for a great cause in Winter Haven

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Delicious ribs from a plethora of BBQ restaurants in Polk County competed for top honors on Saturday. Delicious ribs from a plethora of BBQ restaurants in Polk County competed for top honors on Saturday.
WINTER HAVEN (FOX 13) -

The sweet smell of barbecue was in the air in Winter Haven Saturday afternoon.

The mouth-watering aroma represented a community coming together for a good cause. The ninth annual Smoke on the Water BBQ Championships took place at the Citrus Center Boys and Girls Club.

"God blessed us with beautiful weather," said Walt Hall, an official with the host organization. "We got a great crowd and we've got great volunteers that put this thing together."

Those in attendance were treated to some good music but as you can imagine most came for the food and who could blame them.  

Approximately 80 professional BBQ-cuisine teams were competing for top honors. This year's event served a valuable purpose.

"All the proceeds off of this go to do the most important thing we do every day and that's keep the doors of our clubs open," Hall explained. "That's so we can be there for our kids every day when they show up."

Donations are the lifeblood of the organization.

"If it wasn't for this event there may not be a boys and girls club," says Rick Smith with the Citrus Center Boys and Girls Club.

Saturday's cooking competition/fundraiser almost didn't happen. Last year thieves came through the Boys and Girls Club stealing electrical equipment and copper wiring from the center.

"They probably got about $200 out of the wire they stole but it cost $26,000 in damage," Hall said. "It kind of put this whole event in danger."

But with Citrus Center facing trouble, the community stepped up its efforts.

Hall: "The community came together, we got this all fixed and here we are, got it going on."

Admission was a dollar which was quite a bargain considering how much good food was there. And while the smoked meat products were very, very tasty the work the event did for the club was hands down the most appreciated.

"All of our proceeds go to the Boys and Girls club," Smith added.

What better thing can you do in life other than helping kids, words to live by Hall says.

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