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BBQ Tailgate Challenge – Omar Temple gives back

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Sharon Russel and Bob RollerBefore the 95th East-West Shrine Bowl kicked off, things were heating up outside of Tropicana Field. Fans and Shriners from across the country were able to enjoy a cooking competition, great food, refreshments, music and fun.

“They come out to have fun and enjoy themselves. You see the clowns and you hear the music. It’s one of those days where it’s really laid back. Everybody turned out for a great event,” said Imperial Sir Jeff Sowder.

The barbeque challenge evolved after years of serving food at the annual pregame tailgate party. This year it was decided that there would be a barbeque competition before the game to entice the top cooking teams in the Southeast to participate, and to encourage more public attendance of the event. 

“Omar Shriners have been involved in barbeque competitions for many years,” said Imperial High Priest and Prophet Kenny Craven. “When this opportunity came about, Omar felt like they could contribute their expertise and experience to the East-West Shrine Bowl. They could support the game while supporting the hospitals.”

Smokin’ Gringos won first place in the 2020 East-West Shrine Bowl BBQ Tailgate Challenge. The Mexican-infused southern style barbeque food truck is based out of Charleston, South Carolina. 

“My favorite part about coming to the East-West is the tailgate,” said Shriners Hospitals for Children Patient Ambassador Jessica. “There’s so much food, fellowship and friends that you can just hang out with.”

Thanks to Kevin Merritt for taking on the position of chairperson and organizing Omar’s efforts in this endeavor. As always, the Shriners’ mission is evident, and our friends at Omar Temple from Charleston, South Carolina, helped put on a great BBQ event. The result of their hard work will benefit children at Shriners Hospitals. Thank you to the Omar Divan and Omar Shriners who attended for their continued support and generous donation of $15,635.30.