A 'full pull' to help kids

Chili contest, antique tractor pull among events planned Oct. 18 for first 'Help A Child' benefit

By PATTI SELLS, News-Telegram Feature Writer

Oct. 12, 2008 - Chilly weather means chili weather, but for folks who need more than cooler temperatures as an excuse to get out their chili pots and savory recipes, how about a worthy cause to cook for.

The first ever Help A Child Benefit to be held Saturday, Oct. 18, at Bartley Auction Complex will feature not only a chili cook-off, but an antique tractor pull and tractor show, live entertainment, Dutch oven treats and an auction, all raising funds for Texas Scottish Rite Hospital, Northeast Texas Child Advocacy Center and The Southern Christian Home for Children.

"We're just trying to help out some children and give them a better quality of life through several different avenues," said Wade Bartley, owner of Bartley Auction, located at 4163 State Highway 19 south. "All three of these charities are to help a child in some form or fashion-offering protection, a home.

"Every dime we raise will be given to help a child in need," he added.

The event is being organized by the Sulphur Bluff and Sulphur Springs Masonic lodges, both of which Bartley is a member.

Scottish Rite is a Masonic-sponsored hospital, explained Bartley, who said he has been helping the children's hospital for several years with a toy auction for kids.

"[Scottish Rite] will receive 50 percent of the funds raised with the other 50 percent divided between the other two (the child advocacy center and Southern Christian Home)," said Bartley, who has been involved with all three agencies for the past five or six years. "I just have a soft spot for children, I guess."

Festivities will kick off next Saturday at 9 a.m. with an antique tractor pull and show. The Lake Country Antique Tractor Association will sponsor this event and there is no entry fee for participants, but donations will be accepted.

The chili cook-off contest is open for public participation with a $500 first place prize sponsored by BT Medical Supplies of Sulphur Springs. A second place prize of $300 is sponsored by City National Bank, and the third place winner will walk away with a $200 prize awarded by AK Gillis & Son Contractors. Those who wish to enter the contest must be registered by Wednesday, Oct. 15. The entry fee is $100.

All-you-can-eat chili will be sold for $5 beginning at 11 a.m. with 2nd Haywood providing the local entertainment during mealtime.

After the judging, samples of the winning recipes will be auctioned.

However, chili isn't the only item included on the $5 menu. Dutch oven peach cobbler prepared by the executive director of The Southern Home for Children from Morrilton, Ark., and sponsored by Crystal Feed Mill will be served, along with ice cream donated by the Southwest Dairy Museum. But if your appetite still isn't satisfied from the chili, cobbler and ice cream, homemade pies will be on the auction block, as well.

"My Momma is making her coconut cream pie, and we'll have pecan pies made by the winner of Best of Show in the Household Arts division of the Fall Festival," Bartley emphasized. "We'll have a variety of things on hand."

Bartley said there has already been "a real good response" in terms of cash donations, services and sponsorships, as well as auction items.

According to Bartley, some of the auction items in addition to the winning chili will be quilts, tools, trailers, furniture such as cedar chest and ladder-back chairs, and even an organ.

There is no admission fee this fun-filled day.

Entry forms for the chili cook-off may be obtained by calling 903-945-2689 or 903-348-1878. To donate an auction item call these same numbers.

Those who can't attend on Oct. 18, but would like to make a monetary donation are asked to call Larry Argenbright at 903-438-4002 or Bartley at 903-348-1878.

"We just want to encourage people to come out," he said. "We're gonna have a day of fun and enjoyment and all the proceeds are going to a good cause."

For more information about the supported charities, go to www.schome.org, www.netcac.org and www.tsrhc.org.

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