Even the 100 degree West Texas weather couldn’t keep members of the Odessa Fire Department and Odessa Police Department from trying to raise money for their charity of choice.
Especially when it involved mouth-watering ribs.
“It’s free food. Need I say more?” firefighter Lorenzo Rivas said.
The event was thought up by Aimee Dutchover, the local store marketer at Texas Roadhouse, in an attempt to do something to give back to the community during the restaurant’s Rib Fest.
Citing the store’s push of the food item, Dutchover, who was recently hired by the company, said she wanted something to do to reach out to the community and start her job of with a bang.
“It’s a fun little competition for a good cause,” she said.
Five members from both departments met in the parking lot at Texas Roadhouse, each participant waiting for their chance to eat a half-rack of ribs. The restaurant would donate money raised Friday night to the winning team’s charity of choice.
The firefighters were eating for the Muscular Dystrophy Association; the police for the Police Athletic League Association.
“That’s really what it’s all about,” police officer Jeremy Seago said.
But even the good cause couldn’t stop a little trash talk before the competition.
“It’s all about technique,” police officer Alex Jurado said. “If we can keep our hands from getting sweaty, we can get a better grip.”
As the food was placed in front of the competitors, the rules were explained: the next person in line could not start eating until the person in front of them had finished their ribs entirely.
That meant no meat left on the bones.
A small group of spectators, mostly members of the police and fire departments, cheered as the two teams inhaled their ribs in the neck and neck competition.
When the race came down to the final two eaters, Rivas and Jacob Clark, Clark had the lead before firefighter Rivas wolfed down the final bites of his food and threw back some water.
“No Mas!” Rivas said as he held his arms up victoriously.
The defeated police team shook hands with the victors, cleaned themselves up and left. The crowd soon followed.
Dutchover also said the winning team would have a meal catered for them and their family by Texas Roadhouse.