The 54th Annual Hopkins County Stew Festival persevered through steady rain and mud as it crowned winners in four cooking categories this past Saturday. The event, which had enthusiasts gathering at Buford Park, endured relentless rain that began before dawn and continued throughout the morning. Despite the challenging weather, the festival was a success, with cooks providing chicken and beef stew for several thousand attendees.
President of the Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce, Butch Burney, expressed gratitude to the stew cooks, who faced the challenge of preparing their dishes over open fires in the persistent rain, keeping the cherished tradition of the stew festival alive. Burney also extended thanks to the resilient residents who braved the elements to come to the park, ready to enjoy a good time and indulge in delicious stew.
The 54th stew contest, proudly presented by title sponsor Alliance Bank, saw more than 140 cooks participating and submitting their stew samples to the judges, despite the challenging weather conditions. Thanks to Signature Solar, children aged 12 and under were granted free tickets, ensuring that no one left the festival hungry. On the preceding Friday night, City National Bank sponsored the activities, including the appetizer contest and a concert featuring Dubb and the Luv Machines.
Stew contest winners
First Place Super Stew Chicken winner was the team of #11 Linda Blount and Brandon Brewer, sponsored by City National Bank. Republic Services provided their prize money of $500, and their winning quart of Super Stew Chicken was purchased for $900 by Interstate Body Shop.
Second place Super Stew Chicken was won by #25 Kimberly Kirkland and Danne Chaney, sponsored by I3 Verticals. The Sulphur Springs News-Telegram invested their prize money of $250, and the quart was purchased for $500 by Hampton Inn.
Third place Super Stew Chicken went to #9 Don Sapaugh and James Van Winkle, sponsored by City National Bank. Farm Country supported their prize money of $100, and their stew was purchased for $300 by Jay Hodge Chevrolet.
Honorable Mention Super Stew Chicken was #59 Khrista Brown and Gary Friddle, sponsored by Northeast Texas Farmers Co-op.
First Place, Super Stew Beef winner, was the team of #482 Steve Littlefield and Dwayne Sears, sponsored by Ben E. Keith. Brian Toliver Ford Lincoln provided their prize money of $500, and the quart of Super Stew Beef was purchased for $900 by Clayton Homes.
The second-place Super Stew Beef award was won by #123 Brent Williams and Mariam Williams, sponsored by Bulkley and Associates. The Sulphur Springs News-Telegram invested their prize money of $250, and the second-place Super Stew Beef was purchased for $500 by Oncor Electric Delivery.
Third place Super Stew Beef was won by #468 Garrett Glass and Laura Glass, sponsored by Guaranty Bank. Jiffy Signs supported their prize money of $100, and their third-place Super Stew Beef was purchased for $300 by Texas Heritage National Bank.
Honorable Mention Super Stew Beef was #477 Kelley Perry and Kaley Williams, sponsored by EMC Hauling.
First place chicken stew winner was the team of #211 Kristen Richmond and Charlie Usry, sponsored by Discount Wheel and Tire. Farmers Electric Cooperative provided their prize money of $300, and their first-place chicken stew was purchased for $600 by GDC Industrial.
The second-place chicken stew winner was the team of # 4 Shane Green and Jessica Green, sponsored by Little Caesars. Nottingham’s SS Dodge provided their prize money of $150, and their second-place chicken stew was purchased for $450 by Let-R-Rip.
Third place chicken winner was the team of #30 Luke Kerby and Seth Roberts, sponsored by Cross Country Communications. Bear Littleton State Farm provided their prize money of $100, and their third-place stew was purchased for $250 by Farm Country.
Honorable Mention Chicken Stew was # 215 Michael Williams and Tim Berger, sponsored by Grocery Supply.
First place beef stew winner was the team of #202 Gary Simmons and Aaron Davis, sponsored by Bob Evans Foods. Nottingham’s SS Dodge provided their $300 prize money, and their first-place stew was purchased for $600 by Heath Hyde, Attorney at Law.
Second place beef stew was the team of # 478 David Slaughter and Josh Hill, sponsored by Slaughter’s Barbecue. Nottingham’s Sulphur Springs Dodge provided their $150 prize money, and their second-place stew was purchased for $450 by Farm Country.
Third place beef stew was the team of # 61 Debbie Horton and Benji Brown, sponsored by Northeast Texas Farmers Co-op. Farm Country provided their $100 prize money, and their third-place stew was purchased for $250 by G3 Mercantile.
Honorable Mention Beef Stew was #122 Bill Owens and Beverley Owens, sponsored by Jay Hodge Chevrolet.
Best New Stew Cook was site # 490 Rachel Mejia and Candace Evans, sponsored by The Groom Room. Bright Star Baking sponsored their $100 prize.
First place in the Tailgate Appetizer Contest was site # 204 Gary Simmons and Aaron Davis, sponsored by Bob Evans Foods. AK Gillis and Sons provided their $200 prize.
The Tailgate Appetizer Contest second place was site # 103 Josh Key and Scotty Nguyen, sponsored by Community Bible Fellowship. Bear Littleton State Farm Insurance provided their $100 prize.
Tailgate Appetizer Contest third place was site # 126 Drew Smith and Trey Clark, sponsored by Safety Control. Northeast Texas Choral Society provided their $50 prize.
The campsite and costume winner was site #95 Cydney Williams and Cami Lane, sponsored by CWL Underground. Super Handy Convenience Stores provided their $200 prize.
The John Chester Award for Super Campsite winner was site #210; Juan and Ashley Ortiz, sponsored by The Rustic O. Robinson Benat Construction Co., provided their $250 prize.