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Cameron students compete against alumni in chuckwagon cook-off

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LAWTON, OK._The sights and smells of the old west filled the Cameron University campus Saturday during a chuckwagon cook-off.

Alumni faced off against Cameron's students as four teams prepared authentic chuck wagon meals, where everything was served up from fried pork to cobbler; everything cooked just right for a cowboy.

Cameron students came to the chuck wagon cook-off hungry...but did not leave with their appetite.

There were cowboys hovered over Dutch ovens and cast-iron skillets cooking up the Old West's finest.

The main dish was chicken fried pork and all the extras.

"And potatoes and gravy and peach cobblers and beans. We started fires at 5:30 this morning. Way before daylight," said Representative Don Armes.

State Representative Don Armes, a Cameron alumnus himself, was heading up the alumni chuck wagon team.

He says when it comes to cooking cowboy style, it is all about controlling your heat.

"There's no electricity anywhere around here. So, we're cooking everything out here the way they would in the old west," said Armes.

But Armes says there is more to be learned from the chuck wagon days...lessons that go behind that deep fried goodness.

"We always say the code of the west is what we follow. The code of the west is just rules for living. The golden rule, your hand shake means something. It's just an old unwritten code," said Armes.

The alumni were not too worried about their young competition, team Dust Bowl Diner, headed up by student, River Mitchell.

He was raised following the code of the west, and says he no stranger to authentic chuck wagon cooking.

"Live on a ranch all my life so it's been really neat to learn how, and dad helped me. He always had us out doing stuff. Lot of fun," said Mitchell.

In fact, Mitchell says he takes a lot of pride in his cobbler.

"Well you know, we've got a family secret recipe that we use on the cobblers. So, we've got a peach cobbler coming up and a couple blackberries," said Mitchell.

And while students like Mitchell are familiar with cooking in the old west, Cameron's diverse population brings in students from all over the country, some of them strangers to a chuckwagon cook-off.

"Going back and seeing what the cowboys went through with the trail rides and moving the cattle through and stuff like that. So, for me it's kind of neat!," said one unfamiliar student, Elizabeth Richter.

But despite skill level, the Dust Bowl Diner was counting on beating former Aggies for the ultimate prize.

"Braggin' rights! Definitely bragging rights...and against all them old guys over there! You know?," said Mitchell.

But Armes and his team were not too worried about win or lose.

He says his teams concern was showing students Cameron's roots.

"I just think we're bringing a little bit of old west flavor back to Cameron university, which I like," said Armes.

The alumni won the peoples choice award as students walked away with the  judges choice.

 

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