Backyard BBQ contest funds scholarships for formerly homeless kids

5th Annual Backyard BBQ Championship sponsored by Daniel Kids

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – For the fifth year, the best barbecue chefs in Northeast Florida will battle for the title "Amateur BBQ King of Jacksonville" next Saturday at EverBank Field.

"The event is a fundraiser for the Glyn Cook Memorial Scholarship for Daniel kids. We are really excited" said Cole Pepper who is an event co-founder.

Last year, the SNAFU BBQ team took the title and the crown in a contest that featured 47 backyard teams and 10 pro teams. Pro teams compete for shares of a $5,000 prize pool.

"When we started this contest, we never anticipated that the event would grow as it has. We expect to have a full field of 60 teams this year. That's a long way away from the 19 backyard barbecuers that competed in the first event in 2009," said Cole Pepper.

Patrons who purchase a ticket can sample barbecue from all of the teams and vote for the People's Choice Award, as well as listen to live music from the Loolah James Band, 5Story and 77d's.

Certified judges and celebrity BBQ judges will score chicken, ribs and pork entries from the teams to determine the winners.

Among this year's celebrity judges: State Attorney Angela Corey, Duval County Tax Collector Michael Corrigan and Jaguars players Jason Babin and Will Rackley.

The Glyn Cook Memorial Scholarship (named for the late Chairman of the Board of Daniel), awards scholarships for formerly homeless kids who completed Daniel's nationally renowned Project Prepare.

Since its inception, 21 students have earned scholarships totaling more than $35,000.

"The barbecue contest is a lot of fun and a lot of work," admits Pepper.

"But it's more than worth it when you hear the stories of the kids we're able to help. These students have endured more hardship than most of us will ever have to face in our lives."

Tickets are available online for $16.50. Tickets will also be available at the door.

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