by Matthew Christian
One team’s victories in the annual Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce Kickin’ Chicken wing and chili contest are paying off for the Pee Dee Land Trust.
A team from Duke Energy Progress is donating its winnings to the land trust. Team members are Cordy Williamson, Andrew Baylor, Jay Bishop and Kayla Holland-Woods.
They have entered both contests for three years.
“We entered the year that they started the chili/wing cook-off, and we’ve placed somewhere every year,” Williamson said.
The team won first place for its wings in 2019, first place for its chili in 2017 and second place for its chili in 2018.
Both contests are broken into two parts: a winner selected by judges and a winner selected by fan vote.
The judges for 2019 were Adam Crosson of REMAX Professionals, Commander Anson Shells of the Florence Police Department, Aaron Robinson of Honda, Jennifer Robinson of Empowered to Heal, Greg Padilla of Pepsi, Kevin Goodwin of Woodforest Bank, Eric Robinson of Vocational Rehabilitation, Diana Murphy of Diversity Works Magazine, Nicole Echols of Harvest Hope Food Bank, Wayne Mulling of Community Broadcasters and Chief Allen Heidler of the Florence Police Department.
The Duke team won judges’ awards.
The team is reluctant to reveal its wing and chili secrets.
Bishop said Williamson has a secret wing seasoning that he will not reveal even to his teammates.
“Even we don’t know,” Bishop said.
Bishop and his father are responsible for the chili recipe. However, he said, they have modified the recipe to account for the tastes of the Pee Dee region.
He added that the recipe is a Georgia recipe and is milder in taste, but the modified version adds more unspecified spices.
“We put our heart and soul in whatever we do,” Williamson said.
Each prize won carries a monetary prize, which the team then donates to Pee Dee Land Trust.
Lyles Cooper Lyles, executive director of the land trust, said the donation was a general donation and would be used to support the operations of the organization.
She said the donation was special, because it represented both corporate donation in the connection with Duke and a personal donation in the sense that the team chose to donate to the land trust.
Bishop said the Pee Dee Land Trust is a natural fit for the the team.
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