More than $100,000 raised for United Way at BBQ Showdown

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ARDMORE, Okla. (KXII) - "I'm usually a brisket guy but the ribs are winning right now," Owen Longest said.

Some came for the ribs.

"They got some good brisket over this way, there's a lady with homemade brownies and cookies oh they're the best," Earl Cooley said.

Others had a little taste of everything.

But everyone who attended the 5th annual United Way Valero Barbecue Showdown contributed to one great cause.

"The Valero company and their supporters are actually big supporters of our United Way, so they host this huge event for us, South-Central United Way Director Tobi Ervin said.

The barbecue competition raised more than $120,000 for the United Way of South-Central Oklahoma.

"Valero values the communities that we're in, and with us having a refinery in Ardmore it is very important to support our Ardmore residents and Southern Oklahoma residents," Valero Community Relations Adviser Sara Donaho-Jones said.

Ervin says they serve Carter, Johnston, Love, Murray and Marshall Counties.

She says the partnership with the Valero Ardmore Refinery has helped the United Way, help those in need.

"We can help that many more people in our five surrounding counties, with utility needs, education, financial stability, [and] housing," She said. The things human beings need."

"We wanna really give back because our company is blessed and those of us that work there are blessed and we wanna bless the people around us," Jones said.

The first showdown had just 10 competitors and raised $5,000.

Now five years later, hundreds come out from all over the region to compete.

"It's great, we're a little better prepared this year, we just enjoy it, it's a great time," Competitor Clint Grinstead said. A lot of good people out and for a good cause."

38 teams competed this year.

Three of the 1st place teams donated their $500 cash prize back to the United Way.

"All of this comes to United Way and we're just so grateful," Ervin said.