Wild Game Cook-Off Yields Fun, Funding For AWF

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More than 900 people filled Talladega Superspeedway's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series garage on Saturday, Feb. 10 to enjoy the delicious food and festive atmosphere of the Second Annual Alabama Wildlife Federation (AWF) Wild Game Cook-Off & Silent Auction. Proceeds from event ticket sales, auction purchases and track rides raised approximately $25,000 for AWF, Alabama's oldest and largest non-profit conservation organization.

As the cook teams set up their stations and the aromas of their culinary efforts began to fill the air, attendees who had purchased track rides experienced the thrill of zipping around the newly paved 2.66-mile tri-oval track. By 3 p.m., teams had put the finishing touches on their entries to be sent to the judges and were busy pleasing the palates of guests by serving them samples. Meanwhile, everyone mingled with a musical backdrop provided by the band Quest. Then at 6 p.m., the event culminated with the announcement of this year's winning backyard chefs.

Of the fish, fowl & game cook-off categories, the Fish Tales cook team consisting of Allen Nicholls, Margaret Nicholls and Shelley England initially took first prize in the fish category then took home the overall grand prize for their southern bream egg rolls. The team will advance to the state cook-off in Millbrook, Ala. this summer. The complete list of winning cook-off teams for each division follows:

Fish Division: First Place - Fish Tales including Allen Nicholls, Margaret Nicholls and Shelley England - southern bream eggrolls; Second Place - Critter Cookers including Audie and Jean Edwards, Marie Garner, Bettie Morales, and Stan Rich - walnut crusted snapper; Third Place - Cooks Gone Wild including Jerry Garrett, Sharon Garrett, Patrick Garrett, and Monica Garrett - stuffed sausage with creamy crawfish sauce.

Fowl Division: First Place - Friday Afternoon Sportsmen including Lou South, Greg South, Justin South, and Kay South - seafood stuffed quail; Second Place - Salt Creek Production including Johnny Ponder, Clark Carpenter, Coy Mills, and Gary Steed - Grant's goose gumbo; Third Place - River Walk Rat Pack including Mark English, Buck Padgett, Mike Sharber, and Dustin Reddlehover - orange rosemary duck.

Game Division: First Place - Chef Boar or Thee including Jay Bordes, Cindy Byrd Bordes, Dwayne Hazel, and Diana Hazel - wild boar sausage quiche; Second Place - Bootlegg BBQ'ers including Mike and Kedia Page, Kevin and Alicia Hardin, Curtis Oden Ruth, and Allen and Cynthia Tweedis- wild hog; Third Place - Smokin' Crows including Stephen Lee, David Foote, Dale Foote, and Casey Brown - pecan crusted venison.

AWF was established in 1935 by sportsmen to promote the conservation and wise use of our wildlife and natural resources and to ensure a high quality of life for future generations of Alabamians. The organization hosts several wild-game cook-offs throughout the state, but this event is its largest each year. The purpose of AWF wild game cook-offs is to supply a place for AWF members to interact, for non-members to learn more about AWF, and to provide the opportunity to raise funds to support AWF and its programs and projects. The cook-offs also demonstrate that sportsmen and sportswomen utilize the wild game and fish they harvest and cook it with care, skill and expertise to produce great table fare. For more information on the Alabama Wildlife Federation, visit www.alabamawildlife.org.

Talladega Superspeedway officials are preparing to welcome back fans for its first races of the 2007 NASCAR season during the Aaron's Dream Weekend, featuring the Aaron's 312 NASCAR Busch Series and Aaron's 499 NEXTEL Cup Series races. Friday, April 27 will feature The Birmingham News Qualifying for the NASCAR Busch Series. Saturday, April 28 will feature

The Birmingham News Qualifying for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and the Aaron's 312 NASCAR Busch Series race. Then on Sunday, April 29, NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers will compete in the Aaron's 499, the ninth race of the season. Kids age 11 and younger are admitted free of charge when accompanied by a ticketed adult on Friday and Saturday. Tickets are available by calling 1- 877-Go2-DEGA (462-3342) Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. CDT, or by logging onto www.racetickets.com. For our hearing impaired guests, please call TDD 1-866-ISC-TRAK (1-866-472-8725). You may also purchase tickets in person at Talladega Superspeedway's Ticket Office from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. CDT, Monday - Friday.

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