Texas Roadhouse rib-eating challenge to benefit local charity

The Edgewood Children’s Ranch and Ocoee Police Department will go head to head to determine which organization has the fastest rib eaters in town.

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  • | 10:55 a.m. October 3, 2019
  • West Orange Times & Observer
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Whether you’re an avid rib lover or just want to support a good cause, the Ocoee Police Department and Edgewood Children’s Ranch need spectators for their annual rib-eating challenge.

Held at Texas Roadhouse in Ocoee, the third annual rib-eating contest will see five representatives each from the Ocoee Police Department and Edgewood Children’s Ranch square off in a quest to discover who can eat the most ribs.

The coveted title of “Fastest Rib Eaters in Town” also comes with a prize — 10% of Texas Roadhouse’s lunch sales will be donated to the winner’s charity of choice.

Mireya Iannuzzi, community affairs sergeant for the Ocoee Police Department, said that the idea began three years ago with Texas Roadhouse as a kickoff to the restaurant’s annual Rib Fest.

“We were approached by Texas Roadhouse a few years ago with the idea to do it as a fundraiser to raise money for the charity of choice,” Iannuzzi said. “It’s kind of set up more of a relay, where you have five members from the ranch and five from the police department, and you have a minute or so to eat as many ribs as possible. Then it goes onto the next person, and you see who eats the most.” 

Adding to the fun is the friendly rivalry that develops for the competition between the police department and the ranch, as well as the call for spectators.

Guests are invited to the restaurant to watch the rib-eating contest and cheer on their favorite organization. Attendees are encouraged to stay for a bite to eat. Depending on which organization wins, a portion of the lunchtime proceeds will either go toward the ranch’s ministry and operations, or to the police department’s annual holiday toy drive.

The Edgewood Children’s Ranch began in 1966 as the Edgewood Boys Ranch, “a residential facility for young boys who exhibited negative social behavior due to family circumstances,” according to the ranch’s website. Over the years the residential program expanded to include girls, and the ranch now can serve up to 71 boys and girls between the ages of 6 and 17. The nonprofit’s goal is to bring about changed lives and hearts through love and prayer.

The Ocoee Police Department’s annual holiday toy drive collects new, unwrapped toys to give to children over the holidays. 

Regardless of which organization wins, Iannuzzi said, both the ranch and the police department enjoy getting out in the community and facing off in the friendly fundraiser each year. She hopes that spectators and diners alike will come out for some food and entertainment.

“It’s really us coming together, having a bunch of our cops come out and supporting and cheering on the team,” she said. “Show up, by all means, just get there and have lunch. Remember that 10% of it will go to the winner’s charity.”


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