The annual Help-A-Child benefit was started six years ago by local Masons to benefit children’s charities. This year’s event on Saturday, Oct. 19, will once again raise funds for Southern Christian Home, Northeast Texas Child Advocacy Center and Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children.
Southern Christian Home in Arkansas is a 200-acre farm which provides a Christian-based home for about 30 kids, who are all active in FFA, 4-H and similar activities.
Scottish Rite Hospital in Dallas provides services at no cost to children referred to them. Children are referred for a variety of reasons, including spina bifida, dislexia, club foot or other injuries or conditions.
The Child Advocacy Center offers counseling and works with law enforcement so that children alleged to have been physically or sexually abused are interviewed by trained professionals in a child-friendly environment established at the Winnsboro center. NETCAC coordinates the efforts of professionals charged with the work of investigating and prosecuting child abuse cases in Hopkins, Camp, Delta, Franklin, Rains, Titus, Upshur and Wood counties.
“This marks our sixth year,” said Wade Bartley, who provides the venue for the annual fundraiser. “Every year it continues to grow. Last year, Help-A–Child raised $30,000. It netted and paid $25,000 to children’s organizations.”
Bartley explained that the remaining $5,000 went toward the purchase of a set of bleachers to accommodate the large crowds that gather to watch Lake Country Antique Tractor Association’s Antique Tractor Pull and Show in the morning and Texas Truck and Tractor Pullers Association’s Hot-Rod Tractor Pull in the evening. At least six of the the event volunteers and organizers signed a $35,000 bank note last year so they could purchase bleachers. In the past, bleachers had been borrowed from various organizations throughout the region, but logistics of transporting them was a challenge — and usually, there were still people who had to bring their own chairs or stand. So, the organizers borrowed the money so they could purchase a larger permanent set of bleachers.
“We’ll give $5,000 a year for the bleachers, which will be property of Help-A-Child. If the event down the line goes by the wayside, we’ll liquidate for cost with the money [left after the note is paid off] going to Help-A-Child, the children’s agencies. No community organization or individual would benefit from it,” Bartley explained.
The 6th Annual Help-A-Child Benefit is sponsored by Sulphur Bluff Masonic Lodge No. 246, Sulphur Springs Masonic Lodge No. 221, Hopkins County Masonic Lodge No. 180 and Delta Masonic Lodge No. 1240, with Cumby Telephone Co-op, Benson Bros. Wrecker Service and Lonestar Surgery Vein Center as presenting sponsors.
“Presenting sponsors gave $2,5000 or more, some donated quite a bit. We’ve also had several cash donations, close to $10,000 sent in not including presenting sponsors. We are so thankful to our sponsors, very blessed,” Bartley said.
The benefit will feature five distinct events: the LCATA Antique Tractor Pull and Show, Chili Cook-Off, auction of donated items, Brisket Cook-Off and Hot-Rod Tractor Pull. And, for those who stay into the late evening, there might even be a few fireworks.
Things kick off bright and early Saturday with the tractor pull at 9 a.m. There’s no admission fee set for this event, but donations will be accepted. For more information about the tractor pull or organization hosting it, go online to www.LACATA.com
Chili chefs are invited to participate in the cook-off for bragging rights and cash prizes. The cost to enter is $50. Those planning to participate may contact at Robert Cash at 903-335-3018 for registration information and to secure a cook site.
Bowls of chili and Dutch oven cobbler will be served beginning at 11:30 a.m. Pay $5 for all you can eat of the contest entries and cobbler.
An auction of donated items will follow the chili cook-off.
“All auction items were donated by individuals or companies, and we are always open to new additions,” Bartley said. “Jim Wright is handling that for us. We’ve had all kinds of things. If anyone wants to donate, they can contact Jim Wright at 903-488-3550. We usually have pies and cakes too. People can shop around for items. We never know what’s going to come in.”
As the chili cooks are finishing up, the brisket cook-off will get underway. Judging will begin at 3 p.m. with brisket entries to be sold in concessions starting around 5 p.m. There will also be other foods and snack items available for purchase in the concessions area.
“The brisket cook-off was well received last year. Hopefully it will go over well again. From the calls we’re getting about the chili and brisket contests, I think we’ll have a good turn out,” Bartley noted.
Those interested in participating in the brisket cook-off may contact Tony Coffman at 903-715-2800.
In both the chili and brisket cook-offs, the first place winner will receive a $500, second place $300 and third $200.
The benefit’s scheduled activities will wrap up with the hot-rod tractor pull. Although the event won’t start until 6 p.m., the gates will open at 4 p.m. That’ll give people an opportunity to grab a snack or brisket from the concession stand and stake out a spot to enjoy the hot-rod show. A $10 per person entry fee will be charged to get in the gate for this event, although kids younger than 10 years will be admitted free.
For more information about the TTTPA Hot-Rod Tractor Show or hosting organization, go online to www.TTTPA.com.
“We’ll probably even have some bikes to give away. Brian Steward donated eight bicycles last year that we gave away during the pull. We’ll probably even have fireworks that night. There’ll be lots of good food. Part of the money off the concessions will go to the charities too. The weather could affect the tractor pull. One year it did because we had so much rain they weren’t able to use the track. We just encourage everyone to come out, bring the family, have good time and support children’s charities at the same time,” Bartley urged.
For more information about the benefit at Bartley Auction Complex, located at 4163 State Highway 19 south of Sulphur Springs, contact Wade Bartley at 903-348-1878 or Wayne Davenport at 903-453-4579.
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