The 10th annual Springhill Piggly Wiggly Steak Cookoff returns Saturday, July 30. Courtesy Photo

Steak lovers, rejoice.

The 10th annual Springhill Piggly Wiggly Steak Cookoff returns Saturday, July 30. The competition has expanded rapidly in the last decade, with four cook teams squaring off in 2006, and soaring to 75 teams in 2015, with all proceeds from the competition benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

The event is in it’s second year of being a Steak Cookoff Association sanctioned event, with the first-place team earning $1,500 and an invitation to the 2016 SCA Steak World Championship, being held in Fort Worth, Texas, Oct. 28-29. Second place takes home $1,000, with third place receiving $500.

Leanne Redding Hurst, who has helped organize the event since 2013, said 2016 will be the year’s largest competition yet.

“We had 45 cookers in 2014,” Hurst said. “That number jumped to 75 in 2015 with the event becoming an SCA event. This year, we’ve kind of set the number at 80 teams.”

Hurst said the annual St. Jude Auction held in Minden served as inspiration to do something similar with the Steak Cookoff, and out of all SCA events held in the nation last year, the Springhill Piggly Wiggly Steak Cookoff ranked second in terms of attendance, with potential to take the top spot in the near future.

“It’s an economy boost for us,” Hurst said. “These cookers are a community. They know each other and go around to each other’s cooks.”

Out-of-state teams have been the dominant force in years past, but the competition hopes to field more local teams in 2016.

“Arkansas is where our most cookers come from (34), Texas was next (23) and Louisiana was last with 18,” Hurst said.

The event features several side attractions, such as a mechanical bull, an art studio, karaoke contest, bounce house, water slide, dunking booth and face painting. Also, steak dinners will be available for pick up at the event. Steak dinners come complete with a rib-eye steak, potato salad, baked beans, roll and drink. Attendees can also enter for a chance to win a Green Egg Grill.

“I think people come out because it’s something they love and enjoy,” Hurst said.

“The competition is real. People treat this like a sport. The money is great, but the cooks really want the trophy, and this year’s trophy is big.”

SCA members and non-members can register for the competition online, at the SCA website. If you do not wish to register online a downloadable entry form may also be found on the SCA website. The entry fee is $50 per team and the deadline to enter is Friday, July 22. For any questions or for an entry form, contact Leanne Redding Hurst at (318) 539-9116 (Ext. 304).