Second annual Fire Expo and Chambers County EMA Be Ready Day held Saturday

Published 6:32 pm Monday, June 3, 2019

LaFAYETTE — The Second Annual Fire Expo and Chambers County EMA Be Ready Day took place this past Saturday at the Chambers County Agricultural Arena in LaFayette.

The event took place from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. CDT with a steady stream of people coming in throughout the day. Personnel from eight different volunteer fire departments, East Alabama Fire Department, the LaFayette EMS, Chambers County Sheriff’s Department, and the Alabama Department of Public Safety were there to meet with the public, talk about what they do and to demonstrate their equipment.

“This idea came about last year,” said Chief Bill Lambeth of the Union Hill VFD. “People see us running up and down the road in our vehicles but don’t know that much about our departments and what we do. A Fire Expo gives everyone from the county a chance to come out and meet people who are active in firefighting, what we do and to walk around our trucks. We have jumpers for the kids, and a rib cookoff and ice cream contest for everyone to enjoy.”

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Lambeth is a member of a committee that heads up the Expo.

Other members include Chambers County EMA Director Jessica Yeager, Robert Griffin of the Oak Bowery VFD and Joseph Daniel of the Five Points VFD.

In addition to Union Hill, Oak Bowery and the Five Points VFDs, other units present were from Mount Olive, Abanda, Standing Rock, Lakeview, Cusseta and Fredonia.

This year’s event was dedicated in memory of James C. Morgan, Royce White, Joel A. Lowe, LuAnn N. McCarty, Lee LaFollette, Cooper Hodge, Jason Hill, Bob Johnson, Layne Thornton and fallen firefighters everywhere.

Chambers County Probate Judge Paul Story emceed the event from the arena press box.

A four-member panel of judges judged the ice cream contest at 2 p.m. and a five-member panel judged the rib cookoff later on in the afternoon.

Competing in the rib cookoff were Hicktown Barbecue and Firehut Brew & Que. Mike McGlynn of Hicktown and Barry Stephens of Firehut take part in rib cookouts throughout the two-state area.

A native of Wisconsin, McGlynn is a band director in the Opelika City School System.

He competes in three or four cookoffs a year in Alabama, some of which are judged by the Kansas City BBQ Association and which offer prize money to the winners. Stephens competes in Georgia events sanctioned by the Georgia BBQ Association.

McGlynn and Stephens were cooking by 9:30 a.m. Saturday.

“We smoke it two-and-a-half hours, take it off, wrap it, put some rub on it — that’s our secret ingredients — then we’ll let it rest 20 to 30 minutes.,” McGlynn said. “We then glaze it in barbecue sauce and put it back on the smoker for 20 minutes.”

McGlynn said he normally cooks three to four slabs to get 12 to 16 inches of perfectly cooked meat that’s suitable for a contest.

“You want it to come off the bone but you don’t want it sloppy,” Stephens said. “You will know it’s just right when you taste it. It’s tender but not mushy.”

There are high stakes in some barbecue competitions. One that will take place later on this year will offer a first-prize cash award of $50,000.