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Teams get soupy for veteran benefit

Elizabeth, 5, center, and her brother Johnathon Hogan, 3, left, wait to be served during the Soup-er Bowl Cook-Off at the Vidalia Conference and Convention Center. The event served as a fundraiser for the GRITS and Home With Heroes programs. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Elizabeth, 5, center, and her brother Johnathon Hogan, 3, left, wait to be served during the Soup-er Bowl Cook-Off at the Vidalia Conference and Convention Center. The event served as a fundraiser for the GRITS and Home With Heroes programs. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — Hot soup was served up at the first Super-Bowl Cook-Off Saturday at the Vidalia Convention and Conference Center, but no one was more on fire than team Redneck and their marinated beef and bean soup.

Team Redneck not only brought a hot pot of soup, but the message of God and freedom.

Nine teams competed in the cook-off organized by Operation GRITS for Soldiers and Home With Heroes Foundation Inc.

All proceeds made during the cook-off will go on to benefit U.S. soldiers who fight for their country, which team Redneck supported through their soup.

Dr. Gary Haygood of Haygood Family Dental Clinic in Vidalia stood behind the table with Natchez resident Melba Wisner to promote what it means to be a real redneck.

“We bring the news you will never hear in the media and preaching you’ll never hear in the churches,” Haygood said.

Team Redneck, which Haygood organized for the cook-off, uses their website classicredneckradio.com to spread that message among the masses.

“The true meaning of a redneck is to be a freedom fighter for our country,” Wisner said.

For Wisner, Saturday was the perfect day to incorporate their message into the marinated beef and bean soup.

“This is basically the food that people would have survived on,” Wisner said. “It’s common food, but it’s also a classic food.”

Following the website’s motto, Wisner believes that there is a little redneck in those who live with ingenuity, productivity, creativeness and the spirit to never say fail.

The soup cooks were not only cooking to feed those in attendance, but to support U.S. soldiers.

“I have a lot of military background in my family,” said Dylan Butler, who heated up the competition with his beans, greens and crunchy things soup. “Knowing the proceeds are going to the veterans is great for me.”

Butler’s great friend, Richard Thomas Junkin, is currently serving in the U.S. Marines.

“They are out there serving our country, putting their lives on the line, the least we can do is help them out.”

Ferriday resident Eddie Nugent said he hopes to see the cook-off become an annual event.

“I think the folks did a great job on the various types of soup,” Nugent said.

Prizes were awarded for the following teams who won first through third place in each division.

The winners include:

• Best professional individual, Jim Anderson and team.

• Best amateur individual and best sports booth, Susannah Hogan, sponsored by Delta Bank.

• Best amateur team, Copiah-Lincoln Community College Culinary Arts Students.

• Best professional individual cook, BB’s Kitchen.

• Best patriotic booth, Adam Kirk for Constable with the Miss-Lou Veterans Coalition.