First Annual BBQ Cook-Off And Car Show Raises $9,000 for Boys Shelter

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FORT SMITH (KFSM) – A BBQ cook-off and car show benefit raised $8,800 Saturday (Oct. 25) to help expand a shelter for boys in Fort Smith.

Jeff Karns, along with several other contestants, paid $50 to have their food judged in the BBQ cook-off.

"I've cooked chicken, beef, baby back ribs and pork,” Karns said.

"The goal is to raise enough money to build a new boys shelter,” said Andy Rauser, who is a board member at the shelter. “The one we've got is 40 years old or better. It needs some work done to it. It only houses a dozen boys. And we really need to house closer to 50 boys for an area this size."

Rauser said the expansion is expected to cost around $3 million.

"The plans call for three buildings, each one housing up to 12 residents. And we also want a gymnasium,” said director of the Boys Shelter, Steve Perpira.

Including the current building, the shelter would have enough room to house a total of 48 boys, ages 13 to 18, who are in need of a safe place to live.

The event wasn't just about food -- there were cars there, too. Each person who brought a car to be judged paid $20 -- and all those cars got Fritz Freeman's attention.

“I love cars -- I've got a lot of them myself, and we were going past and I said 'Oh, there's cars! Whip in, [I've] got to see them!’” Freeman said.

Rauser said they will host several other events in the future in order to raise the money necessary to complete the plans. One event being planned will take place on Memorial Day.

The shelter currently houses 10 boys, according to Rauser.

"Everybody needs help, and I enjoy cooking, and this is a benefit for them,” Karns said.

At the time the story first aired, a total of $8,000 was raised. Around 7:00 p.m., 5NEWS was notified of a donation from the winner of a drawing at the event at Kay Rodgers Park, making the total $9,000.