BLENHEIM — More than 500 people came out to see some of the top grill masters in Marlboro County and the surrounding area show off their skills at the fourth annual Marlboro County Country Cookoff on June 16.
The winners were Team Unity BBQ, "Grill Master Supreme"; Team Julius Canty, "People's Choice" Award; Charleton Fennell wins "Best Brisket"; and Israel and Drayton Dease win "Best Sauce".
Five students received scholarships. They were Aleecia Brown, Leron Evans, Danielle Hepburn, Serena Parrott, and Careka Townsend.
Levone Evans was one of the judges for the Best Brisket. Evans, who owns Vons and Sons near Clio and a 2018 People Choice winner, said various briskets she tried were good.
"There were a couple that stood out more than others," she said.
Helping to provide scholarships for students was a big reason Evans has participated in the event for several years.
"I will do anything to help with education and the community," she said.
Evans added that anyone who missed the event had missed a treat.
"Come out next year because we will be doing the same thing again next year," she said.
It was the first time that Danny Driggers had attended the event and helped to judge the briskets.
"We had a good time and had good food," he said.
Driggers felt bad that he had missed the first three events.
"It is a good organization and they are doing some good things with it," he said. "This will not be my last time attending it."
Tamerris Dixon and his group Smoke Somthn BBQ from Florence participated in the Cookout for the first time.
Dixon was glad that a family member suggested he compete with his ribs.
"We have a good time," he said. "It is a laid back crowd."
Dixon has been cooking meat for three and a half years.
"It started as a personal hobby but has evolved into something bigger," he said.
The Country Cookoff was created by Bennettsville native and nationally known journalist Arthur Fennell, who was pleased with the turnout for the event.