Pilot story and photos

by Marjorie Woodfin

Organizers of the 23rd annual Winchuck Fire Department Barbecue said the affair just seems to get bigger and better every year, and last Sunday's event was no exception.

Lucille Devine, who was steering the event for the third year, said 589 people were served and the gross income was about $9,000. She said the fire department expects to clear between $4,500 and $5,000 when the dust settles and all the bills are paid. The money raised will be used to correct a drainage problem at the firehouse.

But it isn't just a fund raiser. andquot;It's lots of fun and it went really well, with a lot of stuff going on,andquot; Devine said.

Tom Taylor, Winchuck fire chief and barbecue treasurer said, andquot;It's a community event.andquot; Taylor explained that the 4H Rail Riders, Brookings Harbor High School Bruin girls softball team and Booster Club, and Boy Scout Troop 32 all helped with cooking, serving, setup and cleanup. The Boy Scouts and the 4-H members received $250 for their work and the booster club and girls softball team shared $250.

The menu included barbecued chicken prepared by the booster club under the direction of Terry Hanscam, cole slaw, baked beans, rolls and butter, lemonade and coffee, plus a new item this year, fresh corn on the cob. Hanscam also served as auctioneer.

Loads of donated homemade pies and cakes were offered for sale by the piece and by the whole pie or cake, with crowds lined up around the dessert table after 3 p.m. when serving ended and the pie and cake sale was announced.

The barbecue isn't just an opportunity to get a fine meal, it's also a place to find bargains in the silent auction, the not-so-silent auction, and the rummage sale, and to meet and greet old and new friends and to be entertained by several local musical groups and individuals. Perry Devine presented his original pieces accompanied by Ray Shipman and Mark Gibbs. Gibbs then joined Shirley Hyatt and Gil Kirk to perform as the Wild River Ramblers. Other entertainers included Timbre, a duet of Michael Quale and Kim Banfield; Twyla Sullivan; and Matt Sciulli playing the accordion.

The event also provided an opportunity to demonstrate the fire department's new Compressed Air Foam System (CAFS), recently purchased from a fire department in Missoula, Montana.

Taylor demonstrated that the CAFS can be operated by one person, allowing the first man on the scene with the truck to attack the flames quickly.

andquot;The foam is aerated in the hose, compressed eight times, and the line will float,andquot; Taylor explained. andquot;Five hundred gallons of water, with air, will provide 4,000 gallons of foam. It's a high energy system.andquot;

Over the years Winchuck Fire Department Barbecue has become a not-to-be-missed event, with Curry County folks coming from Port Orford, Ophir and Gold Beach and former residents who come from as far away as Cottage Grove.

Devine said she wanted to thank all of the businesses and individuals who donated items for the live and silent auctions, door prizes and rummage sale. andquot;We couldn't have raised all those funds without the donations we received.andquot;

With workers, sponsors, volunteers, and participants coming from all parts of the county, Tyler is right. It is truly a community affair, and planners are already talking about next year.