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Timmy Mouton, left, and Jason Monk check on their entry for “Team Jaguar” during Saturday’s inaugural Rice Festival Rice and Gravy Cook-off.

Inaugural IRF Rice & Gravy Cook-off huge success; hundreds participate

Saturday’s inaugural Rice Festival Rice and Gravy Cook-off was a huge success, according to organizers.
A dozen teams prepared rice and gravy for hundreds of “samplers” on the Wells Fargo Building grounds for the first-ever event sponsored by Cajun Country Rice.
There was beef and pork and chicken and combinations for all to enjoy — and most teams prepared a side dish as “lagniappe” for attendees.
“This is great,” said Crowley Alderman Jeff Cavell, a member of the “Watchers of the Wards” cooking team comprised of members of the city council. “I’d like to see something like this every weekend in Crowley. It really brings people together.”
“I think we have a great turnout, especially considering this is our first ever event,” said Festival Chairman Josh Spell. “We couldn’t have done it without our sponsors and, of course, the participating teams.”
For the contest, each team prepared four samples of their “offering” to be tasted by a secret panel of judges. Winners were:
• First Place: Martin’s Tavern;
• Second Place: Watchers of the Wards; and
• Third Place: City Bar.
A special “President’s Choice” award was presented by 83rd International Rice Festival President Deborah Nutt. That went to the Bank of Commerce Team.
Dugas, Soileau and Breaux CPAs had the “Best Decorated Booth.”
Another award, dubbed the “Beer Drinking Award” but actually based on the number of can tabs (from beer cans or soft drink cans) deposited at the individual booths, went to the My Baby’s Gravy team sponsored by Southern Technologies.
Billy Pinac served as master of ceremonies for the event, introducing various festival officials and royalty throughout the majority of the morning leading up to the judging.
President Nutt thanked everyone for attending the inaugural event. “It’s amazing to see so many people here,” she said. “And 12 teams is really good for our first years.”
She concluded by inviting everyone to attend the 83rd International Rice Festival Oct. 17-19.
Also introduced were Victoria Callahan, 82nd International Rice Festival Queen; Allie Nork, Miss Crowley; and Destiny Thompson, Teen Miss Crowley.
In addition to the team receiving awards, those competing included Crowley Town Club, Jaguar Oilfield Services, iSAfe LLC (Jennings), Sam’s Place, Clerk of Court Robby Barousse and Lick da Spoon (Lafayette).
A number of door prizes were handed out during the day’s event, along with a 50/50 contest worth nearly $300 to the winner.
A silent auction also was held in support of the Texas Rice Festival set Oct. 2-15 in Winnie, Texas, which was recently devastated by heavy rains from Hurricane Imelda.

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