SBCC may have begun the football season last Saturday with a 51-6 loss to Allan Hancock College, but fans could take consolation in their team’s triumph in the “Grid-Iron Tri-Tip Steak Grill-off” competition.
The cooking contest was inaugurated to raise funds for the athletics departments of both colleges.
Both teams displayed unsuspected culinary talent in preparing dishes for fans who paid $12 for a meal ticket. A panel of judges declared SBCC’s meal to be the best, and fans then filed into their match seats for the day’s next occasion; a Native American ceremony to bless the renovated La Playa stadium.
The stadium’s track and field have been replaced to, say school officials, produce a safer, better playing surface. The project cost $4.25 million, and was funded by Measure V. Officials have calculated that the stadium will get more than 33,600 hours of student use each year, and local residents use it for fitness training, according to SBCC’s website.
Speaking after the Grill-off, Associate Athletic Director Paula Congleton said, “We wanted something to get the team spirit up, and there’s no better way than through food.”
Students from the two colleges carefully grilled and served tri-tip steaks while members of the colleges’ full-time catering staff helped to coordinate proceedings. Diners could also help themselves to Santa Maria beans, fresh salsa dip, and garlic bread.
The judging panel ran the gamut from KLITE Radio Talk-Show Host Catherine Remak to Tim Tremblay, the founder of Tremblay Financial Services. The seven judges ate their way through both dishes at once – not out of greed of course, but to aid comparison. Marks were awarded for: Presentation, Tenderness and texture, Taste and flavor, and Overall impression.
After much deliberation, the scores were totaled up. To the SBCC team members’ delight, they were awarded a bountiful, full-fat score of 112.5 points, whereas Hancock earned a more delicate tally of 94.
The Native American ceremony to launch the renovated stadium was performed before kick-off by several representatives of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians. Standing on the stadium turf, the senior Chumash representative scattered ash into the wind to honor the four directions, and she asked the spirits to “watch over all who pass.”
SBCC President Dr. Andreea Serban delivered a speech to thank all those who had helped turn the vision for an improved stadium into reality. Serban said that the planners and the builders had formed a “dream team.” The stadium work had been completed ahead of schedule. “How many times do you hear that?” said Serban.
The football match itself was largely dominated by Allan Hancock who attacked confidently. Serban said beforehand that “our friendship will remain even if they beat us,” and students can look forward to reigniting their cooking rivalry next year.