Barbecue cooking teams from all over the state of Texas descended on Gonzales over the weekend to participate in the 13th annual First Shot Cook-Off held at the JB Wells Park. Barbecue competition included macaroni, chili, chicken, ribs, beans and brisket.
When the competition was concluded, Matias Serrata of Beeville, Texas was crowned the Grand Champion, while the Reserve Grand Champion title went to Heath Walden of Bastrop, Texas.
“We had a wonderful turnout, and I can’t say enough about the volunteers who worked so hard to put this event together,” said Shirley Breitschopf of Gonzales Elks Lodge 2413. “We had over 180 judges, numerous volunteers and teams that came as far away as Harlingen, Texas to participate in our event.
“The weather was great, the food was fantastic, and I truly believe everyone had a great time.”
In the macaroni cooking competition, Tracy Pauelka of Shiner, Texas took home the first-place plaque and check for winning the Friday night portion of the event.
After all the cooking, tasting and judging concluded on Saturday afternoon, Sept. 21, a special awards ceremony and raffle giveaways was held. In most categories, plaques and checks were given to the top 10 teams.
Liz and Steve Shamlian from Harlingen, Texas were presented the Buddy Breitschopf Memorial Award for traveling the furthest to get to the First Shot Cook-Off.
The winner of the chili contest was Ed Nesbitt of the Copper Field Road cooking team out of Houston, Texas.
The next category was chicken barbecue, and the city of Houston once again claimed top honors as Adam Martinez and his team Damn If Im Po won the title.
After a few raffles, the First Shot Cook-Off presented Brian Pirkle from J Bar B Foods the Louie Award for Going Above and Beyond in support of the cook-off.
In the ribs competition, Paul Martinzes of the Po Meskin Cookers took home first place for his sweet-spicy combination.
In the beans category, Ed Nesbitt won a double as the Copper Field Road team won first place.
In brisket competition, the formidable Panther Creek Cookers team headed by Lisa and Kelly Curtis made it back-to-back championships. Kelly told the crowd that his team was about to hang it up after Gonzales but winning the First Shot would keep them in barbecue competition. Panther Creek Cookers also won for the most outstanding pit.
And finally, Becky Breitschopf was given the Judges Award named in honor of Pew Wee Ploeger for all her years of service to the event.
Photos by Terence J. Fitzwater/Gonzales Inquirer
Grand champ: The grand champion of the cookoff was Matias Serrata of Beeville.
Reserve champ: Bastrop’s Heath Walden won the reserve grand champion title.
Here comes the judge: Becky Breitschopf was given the “Here Comes the Judge” Award named in honor of Pew Wee Ploeger for all her years of service to the event.
Louie award: The First Shot Cook-Off presented Brian Pirkle from J Bar B Foods the Louie Award for Going Above and Beyond in support of the cook-off.
Macaroni: Tracy Pauelka of Shiner, Texas took home the first-place plaque. For more photos of winners, visit the website at gonzalesinquirer.com.
Tractor: The tractor pull at J.B. Wells Arena last Friday kicked off the 13th annual First Shot Cook-Off. More photos are online at gonzalesinquirer.com.