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Sunday, August 1, 2010

"HE PAID YOUR FEES" Chuck-Wagon Cook Off

The “COWBOY WAY Church” of Hartford, South Dakota entertains “He Paid Your Fees” Chuck Wagon Cook-Off annually. The event is a western theme with a Chuck Wagon cooking competition, Dutch Oven Cooking Competition and an equestrian Play-Day Rodeo which was held over the of July 24 and 25, 2010 weekend. “The only entry fee is to simply attend the services of the Cowboy Way Church. It is an opportunity for those who have never been introduced to Christ our Savior and his path,” states Cassandra Swanson. She further states, “The weekend of fellowship shared with cowboys and great food draws competitors to compete for cash in a sport they love.” The event includes a small Rodeo, Barrel Racing, Roping, Play Day and Mounted Shooting along with the Chuck Wagon Competition. In 2009 they added the Dutch Oven cook-off Sunday entry to the events as an addition with the Saturday Chuck Wagons Cook-Off.

The western weekend event was created four years ago with assistance of Larry and Frieda Fossum who provide “Horse Haven Arena.” Larry purchased the ranch property and built an arena that host several equestrian events. Several years ago, the Fossum’s added the “Cowboy Way Church” to the property using recovered barn materials which Larry is the Pastor for the Church. “The Fossum family works very hard to set up this event preparing the area for this wonderful weekend of Christian fellowship and family centered entertainment,” said Cassandra. “The event has proven to be exciting and fun while centered on Christ for those who participate” further replied Cassandra.

The Chuck wagons began rolling into Hartford, South Dakota. The first to arrive had travel 800 miles from the “Cowboy Church” of Paris, Texas. The crew, Eran Yoder, Joe Barrentine, Eddie Baker and accompanied by their spouses began setting up unloading the wagon, cookware, an array of gear to compete and enjoy the South Dakota hospitality and competition. They are the first Texas team to ever compete in this event.

Judy Nielsen of the “Heart D” in Hyatville, Wyoming traveled over 600 miles to this event, although this year she competed with Bob Glanzer’s “Sweet Sally Sue” wagon of Huron, SD. The Patrick’s of Watertown, SD and their “DT” Wagon and the Johnsen’s of Wessington with their “C Bar J” Wagon completed the circling of the wagons. “If you need protection, circle your wagons with us” is the motto for the Wednesday night service of the Cowboy Way Church of Hartford. The church raised $1,750 prize money for the Chuck Wagon group.

Jim and Jill Johnson. Wessington, SD

Friday night a huge storm front blew through the area forcing additional lines to secure the canvas coverings of the wagons. Although, Saturday morning found the sun rising with perfect weather that remained for the rest of the weekend. Chuck wagon crews before sun rise had the fire pits burning the array of woods as each team made ready for the competition. Flour was being worked into dough, beans soaking in water and meat marinating. Authentic cookware from the day of the American Cattle drives was being made ready. Jim Patrick, of Watertown, SD had just assisted Doug Hansen joined by Steve Swanson at the Wagonhound Ranch cooking from Jim’s Peter Schuttler Wagon in May. Doug Hansen stated, “This is one of the nicer restored Peter Schuttler Chuck wagons I have ever seen."  The Chuck Wagon crews provided their own supply of dessert fruit ingredients while the event and sponsors provided the wagons with the best of South Dakota’s Pork Loins, flour, sugar, oil, eggs, milk, onions, potatoes, and coffee to turn out this superb cowboy meal.

Wagon Judges for this event were Lyle Huls of Hartford, SD and Joe Sieverding of Montrose, SD. Food Judges were provided by the Church. Many thanks to these chuck wagon cooks who haul out these beautifully restored historical wagons and work so hard to cook a meal on an open fire with cast iron. It was a wonderful weekend with of fellowship and friendly competition. Sponsors for this event were the Cowboy Way Church of Hartford, SD, the Fellowship of Christian Cowboys, and The Assemblies of God Churches of South Dakota. South Dakota state motto, Under God, the People Rule.

* Meat:
1st Patrick’s “DT”
2nd Neilsen’s “Heart D”
Judy Neilsen Hyatville, WY
3rd Johnsen’s “C Bar J”

* Beans:
1st Johnsen’s “C Bar J”
2nd Neilsen’s “Heart D”
3rd Patrick’s “DT”

* Bread:
1st Patrick’s “DT”
2nd Johnsen’s “C Bar J”
3rd Texas‘s Crew “Cowboy Church”

* Potato:
1st Johnsen’s “C Bar J”
2nd Patrick’s “DT”
3rd Texas‘s Crew “Cowboy Church”

* Dessert:
1st Johnsen’s “C Bar J”
2nd Patrick’s “DT”
3rd Neilsen’s “Heart D”

Best Wagon Camp
1st Patrick’s “DT”
2nd Texas‘s Crew “Cowboy Church”
Jim & Susan Patrick DT Wagon Watertown, SD
3rd Johnsen’s “C Bar J”

Best Overall: (60% Food & 40% Wagon):
1st Patrick’s “DT”
2nd Johnsen’s “C Bar J”
3rd Neilsen’s “Heart D”

Farthest Wagon (in miles to show from home): Texas‘s Crew “Cowboy Church”
Hospitality: Texas‘s Crew “Cowboy Church”

The chuck wagons continued over in Sunday where some teams also entered the Dutch Oven Competition. Fourteen teams rolled out Sunday Morning to attend the Cowboy Way Church which “paid” their fees to compete in the 2nd Annual $1250 Dutch Oven Cook Off. New this year was a $200 Best Site Prize, which encouraged some really fun set up cooking sites, but the competition was won hands down by the lovely red and blue table where common sense comic strip heroine ‘MAXINE’ held court in Luinea and Regina Caldwell’s Camp! “Maxine” dished out advice, along with the Caldwell’s amazing Dutch oven cooking. Another new and fun prize went to the Sage’s of Yankton, SD as the Team Who Drove the Farthest for a one-day Dutch oven competition – congratulations to both teams. Moving on to the food prizes, the competition was stiff, and there were many ties, which is unusual in a “blind” food judging event.

1st – Sweet and Savory Ribs; Nancy Neve & Shona Thompson, Sioux Falls, SD
2nd – One Pot Pork Chops; Dallas & Carol Dohlman, Magnolia, MN
3rd – Ya Makin’ Jamakin’ Lasagna; Caleb Swanson, Canton, SD
4th – Cranberry Loin; Kathy & Gordy Sage; Yankton, SD
5th – Rock Salt Pork; Eddie & Nancy Baker; Powderly, TX
6th – Lamb Couscous; Judy Neilsen, Hyatville, WY

1st – Carolyn’s Buns; Jim & Jill Johnsen, Wessington, SD
2nd – Monkey Bread; Dallas & Carol Dohlman, Magnolia, MN
3rd – Cinnamon Swirl Bread; Jason & Kinsey Griffin, Dell Rapids, SD
4th – Texas Ranch Rolls; Joe & Shannon Barrentine; Pattonville, TX
5th – Famous Dave’s Corn Bread; Luinea & Regina Caldwell, Brandon, SD
6th – Best Beach Bread; Caleb Swanson, Canton, SD

1st – Fresh Blueberry Blackberry Rhubarb Pie; Kathy & Gordy Sage; Yankton, SD
2nd – Summertime Blue Rhubarb Pie; Luinea & Regina Caldwell, Brandon, SD
3rd – Chocolate Chip Apple Pie; Jason & Kinsey Griffin, Dell Rapids, SD
4th – Black Forest Cake; Jim & Jill Johnsen, Wessington, SD
5th – Texas Cinnamon Rolls; Laurinda & Eran Yoder, Sumner, TX
6th – Tennessee Bread Pudding; Dallas & Carol Dohlman, Magnolia, MN

As a bonus this year, the Cowboy Way Church had beautiful aprons made for the “Overall” Winners who competed in all three categories. Going home with these were: 1st Place - Jim & Jill Johnsen, Wessington, SD 2nd Place - Jason & Kinsey Griffin, Dell Rapids, SD 3rd Place - Dallas & Carol Dohlman, Magnolia, MN

Cassandra Swanson
Cassandra Swanson, who organized both the Chuck Wagon and Dutch Oven cook offs for this event, was also awarded a beautiful embroidered apron. Special appreciation and thanks was extended to the Judges (who were provided by the Church), and all of the helpers and sponsors who worked made this event a success and to the Fossum family who with the help of so many Christians have made this event possible.

Freida Fossum
I asked Cassandra how did this concept of bringing the Faith of Christ into Western events. She stated, “The concept of -He Paid Your Fees- Cowboy Churches has been used for barrel racing events for years. In 2007, Larry and Freida Fossums, along with Jack and Carol Garr hosted the first South Dakota event as a kick off event for their new “Cowboy Way Church” in Hartford, SD. Jack, the 2002 National Senior Professional World Champion Calf Roper and Ribbon Roper, and Carol, a Nashville recording artist led the church service that was followed by a 3D/4D Barrel Race Event. The event was so well attended; the Fossums and Garrs repeated the event in 2008 with a Two-Man Ranch Sorting. In 2009 it was a Cowboy Mounted Shoot, with the Dakota Territory Mounted Shooters helping put the event on and a Dutch oven cook off. 2010, they held a barrel race and play day in the arena, and a chuck wagon cook off and Dutch oven cook offs in the field next to the church. All of these events are sponsored and funded by the Cowboy Way Church , FCC, Assembly of God, and many other local businesses.” She further added “Personally, I think He Paid You Fees events could be ANY competition where unchurched folks might come - golf tournaments, volleyball games, POKER RUNS - come to the church service and hear the word of God, then compete for cash prizes without paying an entry fee!!! That is what I would love to see - what a way to reach the masses of people!”

Several up coming Western events in South Dakota will include the Dutch Oven Cooking August 21 at Cabela’s in Mitchell, SD for the $500 Main Course and Dessert Challenge. Following that event will be the South Dakota Wild Game Cook Off – and the largest outdoor western event in the Midwest, the Spirit of the West Festival September 17-19 in Sioux Falls, SD.

Story by: Roger Edison
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Jim Patrick center with his Peter Schuttler Wagon standing with Doug Hansen, Hanson Wheel & Wagon left and Steve Swanson right at the Wagonhound Ranch to cook for a cattledrive May 2010

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