Va. Tech club barbecue a popular stop for fairgoers
By JANE W. GRAHAM
BLACKSBURG, Va. (Sept. 26, 2017) — Virginia Tech’s Block and Bridle Club has a reputation of offering one of the most popular food concessions at the State Fair of Virginia and members are preparing for another year of the tradition.
Three members of the club, Zach Jacobs, vice president, Holland Edwards and Mark Debnam talked enthusiastically at the university’s Beef Center about the booth their club will run at the fair. They are barbecue chairmen in the club.
“For a lot of people who come to the state fair it is their tradition,” Holland said.
Along with its famous pork barbecue, the club offers offering ribeye steak, sliced lamb and a half chicken. The plates are served with homemade beans and cole slaw. They declined, however, to reveal their barbecue recipe.
They also will have peach cobbler and some dairy items for dessert.
The Virginia Tech barbecue has become a decades-old activity of the 55-member club and is a way for the members to give financial support to agricultural student activities at the school. Last year, the club raised about $10,000 during the event.
They used these funds to send the Virginia Tech Collegiate Meat Judging Team to national competition, paying all the expenses of the team’s officials as well. The fundraiser also helped send the State 4-H Livestock Judging team to Scotland and the club made a donation to Relay for Life as well.
The young men described Block and Bridle as a “big ag service club.”
Edwards explained the “block” in the name refers to working with livestock that would pass over a butcher’s block while the “bridle” stands for the behavior of Block and Bridle members, maintaining control, the mannerisms and respect they show towards others, and the manner in which they treat their livestock.
They said the club hosts contests across Virginia for state 4-H and FFA members in a variety of categories. These include horse judging, hippology, livestock judging, stockmanship and meats judging.
This year the fair will run from Sept. 29 to Oct. 8. The men added they get help from Virginia Cooperative Extension personnel during the week operating the booth so club members can attend class back on campus.
During the two weekends of the fair, all the members of the club have the opportunity to work the booth and serve the fairgoers.
“Young people who first learned about the barbecue at the state fair want to join the club,” Dave Linker, agricultural program coordinator in Virginia Tech’s Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences.
The club is open to all majors at the university and many majors are represented from the college, Edwards said.
“The mission is to promote a higher scholastic standard and more complete understanding among our student members,” according to the group’s website. “Secondly, our mission is to promote Animal Science through the development of a program of activities, especially all phases of student Animal Science work in colleges and universities.
“Lastly, our mission is to bring about a closer relationships among students pursuing some phase of Animal Sciences as a profession.”
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