Here comes the judge — all rise


Over the course of the past few weeks, the good citizens and clubs serving the community of Gonzales have asked me on three different occasions to participate as a judge in local cookoffs and fundraisers. I immediately said yes and was quite honored to be asked.

The first judging event was on Saturday, Sept. 14. Rosie Brown, the new owner of Spanky’s Sports Bar, held a fundraiser cookoff to raise money for her late husband and the Keith Brown Memorial Scholarship. Teams were not told what they would be cooking but they could bring whatever spices, ingredients and condiments to the event. There were three categories: appetizers, main course and desserts. At the end of the day two ladies from Katy edged out Dustin and Brandon from WB Farm and Ranch Supply to take home the initial trophy.

The second cookoff is this weekend — and it’s a big one. It’s the annual First Shot Cook-off, and the winners can go to the national tournaments in Missouri or Lynchburg, Tennessee. Shirley Breitschopf of the Elks Lodge asked me to cover the event and be a judge—which I did last year. This year, I will be judging ribs and chili. Yum. Anyone got some antacids they want to share with this old codger?

All kidding aside, it will be a fun day at J.B. Wells Park, with tons of teams expected to participate. There will also be some nice raffles involving rifles, vacation packages, Yeti coolers and more.

The final judging experience will take place on Sunday of Come and Take It. The Noon Lions Club always holds a T-bone cookoff, and I have greedily agreed to judge that part of the event. Last year the T-bones were outstanding, and the food intake kept me satisfied all afternoon as I called bingo for the Lions Club.

Now I am not sure if they are asking me to do this because they know I like to eat, or if it is out of deference for my astute culinary acumen. OK, it must be my astute culinary acumen. I like the sound of that better.

The three invitations got me thinking, however. Since I am going to be a judge three out of four weekends in Gonzales, I told the staff they should start calling me Judge Fitzwater. Or maybe His Honor. Or when they see me they should exclaim: “All rise! Here comes the Judge!”

 The look of horror and disbelief on their faces when I mentioned this to them told me I had stepped over a line that should never be crossed.

I did not mean any disrespect to Judge Pat Davis or any of the other true judges and magistrates serving Gonzales County, but it did sound honorable to me that I should be called judge. After all, how many other local folks had been asked to serve as a judge three out of four weeks in Gonzales! I thought I should at least get the title of esquire behind my name. Alas, it probably will not happen.

Of course, there are some of you out there who might be thinking that judge is way over the line, and after these three cookoffs maybe I should have the title of King Glutton. Or Porky Pig. Hey! Hey! Hey! Here comes the bloated judge.

 I am now reconciled to the fact that the outstanding weight of evidence and opinion comes down on the side of “no” to the judge moniker. All my hopes and dreams of pontificating on the merits of ribs, T-bones and chili are out the window. I only have the pleasure of knowing that this weekend and during the Come and Take It, yours truly is going to enjoy some tremendous food cooked by some of the best in our area and the state. I will have to settle for that little morsel of knowledge, content in the knowing that after everything is consumed, I can sit back, rub my belly, and declare: Case dismissed to anyone who might be listening.

Hope to see y’all out at the First Shot this weekend. It supports the Elks Lodge and Junior Athletics and is a lot of fun.