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September 19, 2013

Chowing down for charity

AMARILLO — As anyone who watches the Food Network’s Man vs. Food knows, eating challenges are typically macho affairs as men (and women) battle monstrous food creations in hopes of earning a spot in local dining history.

Tim Allen of Rockwall will take on the legendary Big Texan at the Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, Texas Friday night. And while eating the 72 ounce steak (and baked potato, roll, salad and shrimp cocktail) would certainly earn him bragging rights among his friends, Allen is undertaking the challenge for a more charitable reason, as well.

Allen is a deacon at Eastridge Church of Christ in Rockwall, a church that fellow attendee Brock Callaway says has worked closely with Boles Children’s Home. Boles Home is a facility in Quinlan that serves at-risk children and single-mother families. Callaway, who is part of the 88.9 FM KETR broadcast team that covers Texas A&M University-Commerce football games, rents a cabin near Palo Duro Canyon when A&M-Commerce travels to play West Texas A&M.

“There is a group of guys from church who I invited to go, and they asked what there was to do besides the hiking,” he said. “I brought up the Big Texan, and told them about the 72 ounce steak.”

Allen, who has eaten competitively in the past, was down for the challenge.

“I said ‘there isn’t anyway you could do that,’” Callaway said. “He said ‘I could totally do it,’ so we set it up.”

According to Callaway, the church had done walk-a-thons and other fund-raisers for Boles Home.

“We though ‘why not an eat-a-thon?’” he said.

The group set up a website page with information and a donation button and established a goal of $500.

“We passed that early on, so we decided to raise it to $1,000, never expecting to get there,” Callaway said.

The group surpassed $1,000 on Thursday and, should Allen be successful, has the potential to add even more to that total.

“We have some donors who are waiting on the outcome before they give,” Callaway said, noting that one donor said he would contribute $2.25 for every ounce eaten, and $350 if Allen completes the challenge.

There will be three watching parties for Allen, whose friends will broadcast his culinary challenge via a smart phone app: one in Illinois, where his family will be watching; one consisting of his coworkers in the Lovejoy ISD; and one made up of his friends from church.

“I don’t see how he’s going to do it,” Callaway said. “It’s probably a foot and a half long, eight inches wide and two-to-three inches thick; plus a roll, salad, baked potato and shrimp cocktail in less than and hour. And he can’t leave the table.”

The group will hike the canyon that morning to work up an appetite and then shower and head to the restaurant Friday evening. Allen has plans to attend the A&M-Commerce football game the Saturday night, if he can recover by then.

For more information or to donate, visit www.mrwritemedia.com/tims-big-texan-challenge.

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