Cooking for a cause


From left are Jeremy Station, Meisha Spann, and Beverly Station Bothwell (Oscar Bothwell’s son, daughter, and wife); first place cook team A Horse with No Name (composed of Michael Cleveland, Austin Tibbett, and Schyler Walker); Garreth Price with Brothers Q (who coordinated the event); and Steve Spann (Meisha Spann’s husband). -Blount-Oneonta Chamber of Commerce

From left are Jeremy Station, Meisha Spann, and Beverly Station Bothwell (Oscar Bothwell’s son, daughter, and wife); first place cook team A Horse with No Name (composed of Michael Cleveland, Austin Tibbett, and Schyler Walker); Garreth Price with Brothers Q (who coordinated the event); and Steve Spann (Meisha Spann’s husband). -Blount-Oneonta Chamber of Commerce

If you attended the Covered Bridge Festival in downtown Oneonta Oct. 9, you may have noticed a new addition to the festival this year, the 2021 Rib Rally. The mouth-watering smell of BBQ smoke hung in the air near the music stage as cook teams from across the area stood watch over their grills.

There was plenty of good-natured competition going on as well as just plain fun, but the real goal of this event was to raise money to benefit the Oscar Bothwell Scholarship Fund. Bothwell, who passed away in 2020, was the owner of O’So Good BBQ in Oneonta. He was a highly respected and generous member of the community and could always be counted on to help with Chamber events. He never missed a chance to participate in the annual Covered Bridge Festival setting up his trailer in the same spot each year. It seemed very fitting that the Rib Rally to benefit a scholarship in his memory should be held at the festival.

Some of the cook teams lit their fires the evening before the Rally with the others showing up in the wee hours the next morning. Each team was issued slabs of ribs from the same source to keep the playing field level. Around noon, a team of judges cast their ballots. Then the Rally was opened up to the public for sampling and People’s Choice voting.

When all was said and done, the event raised $4,130.98 in scholarship money. Scholarship application forms will be distributed to local high school guidance counselors after the first of the year, and the funds can be used to attend either two- or four-year colleges or technical schools.

Each and every one of the cook teams that came out to support this cause were winners, and all of the ribs were undeniably awesome. The final results were: People’s Choice – Boo’s Crew (Lonzo Williams); first place – A Horse with No Name (Michael Cleveland); second place – Horton’s Hawgs (Clent Horton); third place – Bar J5 (Huston Jones); fourth place – Southern Traditions BBQ (Michael Spillman); fifth place – Tore Up BBQ (John Eric Gober); sixth place – Smokin’ with Duffey (Drew Duffey); and seventh place – Boo’s Crew (Lonzo Williams). The People’s Choice and first through fifth place winners took home cash prizes while the sixth and seventh place finishers scored custom made cutting boards.

In addition to Team Nancy & Shannon KW Realty who were the presenting sponsors, others that stepped up to support this event included Snead State Community College, the Blount-Oneonta Chamber of Commerce, SET Logistics, RM Transport, Weathers ACE Hardware, Cola Recruiting, Lollipops Printing, Charlie B’s Restaurant, O’So Good BBQ, Beverly Bothwell, Brothers Q, and WCRL Radio.

This was a great example of the community coming together for a good cause, and plans are already underway for the 2022 Rib Rally at the next Covered Bridge Festival. Word of this year’s success has spread already, and we look forward to having even more cook teams competing in the future. One thing that will not change next year is that BBQ smoke floating over the festival. It will still smell O’So Good!