By: Carol Beck-Round | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: October 2014
Chuck Wagon Cook-Off contestants from Crosstimber Ranch in Mustang are scheduled to return to the second annual competition this year during Will Rogers Days. The team won first place overall last year and will be defending their title on November 1.
If they were being pulled by horses or oxen, it might look like an Old West cattle drive. However, the chuck wagons that will be rolling into the Claremore Expo Center will be hauled in on flatbed trailers to participate in the second annual Chuck Wagon Cook-Off on Saturday, November 1 as part of the Will Rogers Days celebration.
Beef tips, chicken fried steak and pot roast were three of the main entrees in last year’s competition, with four chuck wagon crews vying for first place and bragging rights. Tanya Andrews, Visit Claremore executive director, is expecting more entries this year, at least eight. “However, we can accommodate up to 15 teams set up on the West Bend on the Green,” she said. “We work with the American Chuck Wagon Association to recruit wagons from all over the country.”
The ACWA encourages participants to preserve this aspect of American heritage through competitive events that involve setting up camp, cooking with authentic old western tools and exhibiting restored or replicated chuck wagons. The fun will begin on Friday when the chuck wagons establish their camps, followed by “authenticity” judging. “While the food judges are local, the ‘authenticity’ judges are experienced and recommended by the ACWA,” she adds. “They judge everything including the authenticity of the wagon spokes down to the drawers in the kitchen area.” Points are awarded to the most authentic wagon and then combined with points earned on Saturday during the food judging to determine the overall winner, who receives $1,000. Food judges are recruited from local restaurant owners and chefs.
On Saturday, the chuck wagon chefs get down to business with each team digging a cooking pit. By 11:45 a.m., teams will submit their meals to the panel of judges. At noon, event attendees can begin chowing down. In order to guarantee a plate of the cowboy cooking, Andrews suggest tickets be purchased in advance for $10. Tickets go on sale October 6. The day of the event, tickets are $12. Each meal includes meat, potatoes, beans, bread, dessert and a drink. However, tickets are limited. “We can only sell 40 meals per wagon,” says Andrews.
Chuck wagon teams will compete in seven categories on Saturday: Most Authentic, Best Overall and Best Food subcategories for meat, potatoes, beans, bread and dessert. Food items to expect include chicken fried steak, roast, beef stew, fried or mashed potatoes, beans, biscuits, cornbread, sourdough bread, cobbler and much more.
Performances by Alaska and Madi, both Oklahomans, are also scheduled. The singers were on season six of “The Voice” with Team Blake. RCB, Visit Claremore and the Reveille Rotary Club are this year’s presenting sponsors. Wagon sponsors include Grand Bank, BancFirst and GRDA.
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After 30 years in public school education, Carol Round retired and moved from Grand Lake to Claremore, Oklahoma in 2005, where she writes a weekly faith-based column which runs in 14 Oklahoma newspapers as well as several national and international publications. Three volumes of her columns have been compiled into collections: A Matter of Faith, Faith Matters and by FAITH alone. She has also written Journaling with Jesus: How to Draw Closer to God and a companion workbook, The 40-Day Challenge. This past year she has written three children’s books, a series called Nana’s 3 Jars, to teach children about the value of giving, saving and spending money. All of Carol’s books are available through Amazon. In addition to writing her weekly column, authoring books and speaking to women’s groups, she writes for Value News. She also blogs regularly at www.carolaround.com. When she is not writing or speaking, she loves spending time with her three grandchildren, working in her flowerbeds, shooting photos, volunteering at her church or going on mission trips overseas, and hiking. She is also an avid reader and loves working crosswords and trying to solve Sudoku puzzles.