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This just in - 'King Gumbo' cook-off results

By James Henry Frazar Special to the Courier

Did you think a little thing like rain would stop the 33rd annual Medina Lake Cajun Festival on Saturday, Sept. 28? It definitely didn't stop the Great Gumbo Cook-off.

Okay, maybe a couple of arts and crafts vendors headed for the hills when some afternoon drizzle-plus swept through the area, but for the most part, folks took the small amount of wet stuff and went on dancing and the gumbo cooks kept selling gumbo to festival-goers.

A local restaurant came out in pretty good shape in the gumbo cook-off competition. Jimmy Burger's of Pipe Creek placed first in the People's Choice category and second in the Professional Division.

This was James Jones' first gumbo competition. The cook to beat was Ma Harper. A powerful competitor, she boasts a room full of trophies from previous wins at the Great Gumbo Cook-off. True to form, Ma Harper's Creole Kitchen will add this year's first place professional award to her ever-growing collection.

Another competitor who's been at the Cajun Festival for the last few years was Andrew Gonzales with his Ragin' Cajun Gumbo. He won third place Professional Division.

Other People's Choice winners included Judy Davenport and her crew from New Braunfels and Ray Thibodeaux with Thibodeaux Gumbeaux. The Davenport clan took second in People's Choice and third place Amateur Division gumbo - not bad for a team that competes only once every 10 years to compete. The crew does come to the Cajun Festival annually to dance and eat, however!

Thibodeaux won third place in the People's Choice category, as well as the Showmanship Award. He takes home a prize almost every year, so he must be doing something right. In fact, Thibodeaux's collection of gumbo cook-off trophies is approaching the number in Ma Harper's collection.

Thibodeaux said he brings 25 gallons of gumbo each year and he sells out every year. Yes, he must be doing something right, indeed.

In the Culinary School Division, Bandera High School came out on top with their "A Bite of Bandera" gumbo. Burbank High School won second place with their YaYa Gumbo.

Zackary Taylor and his Down the Bayou Gumbo won first place in the Amateur Division with second place going to Rick Adams and his Mustang Island Seafood Gumbo.