Photos and Story by Carol Rock/KHTS
Some might say it’s beginner’s luck.
Others would disagree, having tasted the spicy concoction.
Whatever the judgment, Team Santa Clarita came out on top in the People’s Choice competition with both their mild and hot salsas at the Stars and Stripes Barbecue and Salsa Showdown Saturday at the Jack Bones Equestrian Center in Castaic.
“We got a lot of good feedback, not only from the hosts of the event, but the general public who came to the event as well,” said Deputy Josh Dubin, who wrangled 15 of his fellow deputies to spruce up a wooden booth, put on their best smiles and push sample cups of the tasty red concoction to willing patrons.
Don’t miss a thing. Get breaking news alerts delivered right to your inbox
“We thought since the event is held in Santa Clarita, it’s our patrol area and it would be nice, since we’ve never had a showing before, to have a presence. Since it’s the first time Team Santa Clarita has competed in the showdown, it’s quite an honor to come out with the first place,” Dubin said.
The event involved more than a dozen different patrol and custody stations from the Sheriff’s Department, as well as booths from the Special Olympics (which got a percentage of the gate receipts) and other vendors. there were also opportunities to shop for gifts, jewelry or other food items.
Special Olympics and Wives Behind the Badge also ran a food concession that featured burgers, hot dogs, beer and margaritas.
You couldn’t help but get hungry, smelling the meats cooking over the fire and coals. Competitors offered bites of chicken wings, pulled pork and ribs for the tasting, emphasizing their numbers on the sample cards handed out.
A complete listing of the award winners will be posted when it is received, but along with Team Santa Clarita doing well in the salsa contest, word on the social networks is that South Facility was awarded the Grand Master title for its BBQ and salsa entries. Stephanie Yoshida from the staff at Special Olympics also posted their results:
“Our chicken wings took Judge’s Choice 3rd place and People’s Choice 2nd place. Our hot salsa took People’s Choice 3rd place, the medium took People’s Choice 2nd, and the brisket took People’s Choice 3rd! Pretty good for our first year at the Showdown!”
Dubin said that their team was pretty happy with their results, vowing to put together an entry in the barbecue categories for next year.
“We certainly want to try, the competition for bargecue was definitely a tough one,” he said. “A lot of people out there were doing amazing things on a barbecue.”
He added that once he and another Crime Prevention deputy started talking about the competition, support started gathering, including a blessing from the station commander, Captain Paul Becker.
“Even my lieutenant, Robert Lewis, was on the phone with me during the day, making sure we had the proper support we needed,” Dubin said. “The whole station pulled together and it was a great event.”
The winning recipe came together after several deputies shared their family recipes and the combined efforts made for some spicy sampling.
In fact, the team had so much fun, they’re working on a killer chili recipe for the Fun In the Sun Chili Cookoff, set Oct. 6 at the same location.