Four ladies who’d never made gumbo before decided to take a chance on the first annual Bras for a Cause Gumbo Cookoff. They were a first-place hit, and so was the event, which has continued to grow bigger and stronger, with more totally delicious gumbo every year.

This year’s third annual Gumbo Cookoff will begin at 2 p.m. Saturday at the New Armory in Williston, 10 Main Street.

Fifteen teams have stepped up to compete for acclaim as either the best and/or the most entertaining gumbo chef in the Bakken, while they simultaneously work to raise money for a good cause.

The team list reflects a more active oil and gas industry, organizer and Bras for a Cause committee member Denise Gustafson said.

Teams on the roster this year include: Chamley Pipe, Bakken Boys, Dypex, Williston Auto, Blondies Feed Your Soul Food, KLX Energy, Busy Bees Hot Oil, Hampton Inn, Hovland Hot Oil, Candlewood Suites, Earthteams Global, Secure Energy, Wisco, Stallion Oilfield Services - Rockies, and G-Style Transport.

Each team will have a decorated booth to showcase their pot of gumbo, which will include samples for the public to taste and pick a favorite. The booths will also include what Gustafson calls “FUNdraising” games as well.

Prizes will be awarded to the top three gumbo chefs as determined by a panel of independent judges. There are also prizes for the people’s choice gumbo and the best-decorated booth. The top fundraiser overall takes home a traveling trophy and claims the title of Bakken Breadwinner.

Doors to the event open at 2 p.m., and gumbo is served at 5:30. Live music starts thereafter from Jade’s Agenda, a five-piece rock/classic rock band. Tickets are $10 at the door for all the gumbo and fun you can have in just one night. You must be 21 to attend, however.

There will be a silent auction during the event which features many great items from area businesses, including — for all the would-be gumbo chefs out there — Cooks on Main.

Masks are highly encouraged for the event, which has been dubbed a Masq-R-Aid, because proceeds from the event will be used to aid cancer patients in the Williston area.

Not to worry if you don’t have a mask, however. Natasha Face Painting will be on site to create a custom one for you. She is donating a portion of her proceeds to the Bras for a Cause event that helps so many cancer patients.

Insurance does not pay all the costs of an illness, Gustafson points out. There are many expenses, from travel to medicines, that fall through the cracks.

In addition, people often cannot work while they are so ill, which is another complication and strain on both finances and mental health during an already stressful time.

Since its last event, Bras for a Cause has given about $75,000 to those in the Williston area who are battling cancer, to help them with all the needs that insurance doesn’t.

“The needs in this community continue, and we want to be able to help as much as we can. But we cannot do so without the support of the community,” Gustafson said. “We need and appreciate the support of this community.”

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