Ryan Rogers Memorial Cook-Off a Success

Thursday, February 28, 2019
The winners of the Ryan Rogers Memorial Cook-Off chili competition were, from left: first place Farren Young, second place Whitney Latimer and third place Sarah and Chris Champion.
TD photo/Jane Gatewood

Clay County folks are quick to support events such as the Ryan Rogers Memorial Cook-off and Supper by attending the dinner, volunteering to be judges and participating as cooks—and this year proved to be no different. The event’s reputation for good chili, soup and jambalaya along with fabulous desserts resulted in the turnout of a good crowd on Saturday evening, Feb. 23, as they packed the Rector Community Center.

Beginning this year, a portion of the proceeds from the event will assist in funding the Ryan Rogers Scholarship which was initiated by Ron and Nancy Kemp. The scholarship is awarded each May to a Rector High School graduating athlete who is seeking to continue their education.

The late Ryan Rogers loved the Clay County community and worked tirelessly to develop relationships with the people, especially enjoying the portion of his job which led him to be Rector’s news and sports reporter for Clay County Times-Democrat. Rogers’ family always attends and supports the event.

Judges for the 2019 event were Kelly Baker, Jeff Douglas, John James, Joe Jett, Vicki Romine and Logan Wilson. Judging went smoothly and the results were ready to announce by 6:15 p.m. as the public poured-in.

Linda Robinson, Community Center Director, was pleased with the turn-out for the event which is always held on the last Saturday in February. “Even though Rector High School was host for the Regional Basketball Tournament and many of our usual supporters were involved in the tournament organization, the Chili-Soup-Jambalaya Cook-off and Supper still had a good crowd, and we’re very grateful for that,” she explained.

Rector’s Community Center Committee sponsors this event. The members include Robert Plant, Jessie Malin, Christa Hedrick, Martha Thompson, Kim Romine, Jane and Clarence Huffman, and Jane and event chair Marvin Gatewood. The members, along with director Robinson, work hard to make this event successful each year. In turn, community businesses make donations to the cause which provides the funds for supplies for house chili, paper products and the door prize. Meanwhile, the entry fees fund the prize money. In turn, the $5 per person dinner price gives the Community Center funds to be used for improvement and beautification projects.

This year's winners included—Farren Young repeated as winner of the chili cook-off, and brought home people's choice honors as well. Second went to Whitney Latimer and third to the team of Sarah and Chris Champion. Kim Isom took first in the soup competition with Russ Latimer second and Mayor Teresa Roofe third. Deputy Tom Colbert won the jambalaya competition with David Cagle second and the City of Rector entry third, as they were represented by Brad Green and Jerry Mansfield. Organizers also reported that the door prize winner of the Instant Pot was Jessie Petty.

Rogers, a Greenway area native and Rector grad, was the winner of the first-ever chili cook-off. He returned the following year as a judge, but died suddenly in January of 2015. That year the contest was renamed in his memory, and the trophy features his photo. A top-notch journalist, he also served the Greenway area on the Clay County Quorum Court.

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