Planning continues for Highland County’s Smokin’ in the Hills


Preparations continue for Smokin’ in the Hills, a Kansas City Barbecue Society-sanctioned competition set for Sept. 23 at Rocky Fork Lake.

Highland County Board of Commissioners President Shane Wilkin said in a Wednesday commissioners meeting that several teams have already signed up to compete in the cookoff, which will include selections of chicken, ribs, pulled pork and brisket.

Prizes will be awarded to the grand champion, reserve champion and first through fifth place for each category, according to Rhonda Purdin of the Highland County Senior Citizens Center. Purdin was the first person to come up with the idea for the barbecue competition, Wilkin said.

According to Wilkin, a “boatload” of judges have also signed up.

Wilkin also said planners are currently working with recycling outreach coordinator Heidi Devine to make Smokin’ in the Hills a “zero-waste” event.

As reported by The Times-Gazette, R+L Carriers will be the signature sponsor of the event, which will also feature a canoe race, obstacle course, a military static display and The Eyes of Freedom: Lima Company Memorial, a travelling display of life-size portraits depicting the fallen members of Lima Company 3/25.

Wilkin said the event will have additional support from several local businesses and organizations, including Southern State Community College.

Sgt. Tyler Musselman of the Hillsboro U.S. Army Recruiting Office is spearheading the race, which costs $50 for a two-member team. All proceeds from that portion of the event will be donated to “Silent Battle,” a bronze sculpture that will travel with the Lima Company Memorial, according to Wilkin.

Registration for the race can be found by visiting

Registration for the cookoff is currently open for teams wishing to compete. Applications can be obtained online by visiting or by emailing Highland County Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Destiny Bryson at [email protected]. The registration fee is $250.

Also Wednesday, Wilkin said Martinsville resident and Hillsboro Elementary teacher Fawn Girard is currently raising money to compete in the World Archery 3-D Championships.

As reported by The Times-Gazette, Girard, an accomplished archer, is a member of the U.S. national 3-D archery team, and will compete in the championships Sept. 19-24 in Robion, France.

Though she is a member of the team, Girard must raise her own money to make the trip to France possible. The U.S. team does not provide financial support to its members, not even for the uniforms in which they compete.

The Clinton County Farmers and Sportsmen’s Club will be holding a benefit shoot the first weekend of September, and there will be raffles at the club the next two months.

A US Archery Fund account through Fifth Third Bank can be used for those who can make donations. Also, donations can be made via Paypal transfer using Girard’s email ([email protected]) or by sending donations to Girard at 931 Gibson Road, Martinsville, Ohio 45146.

Commissioner Terry Britton said Hillsboro school board member Jim Smith would be attending his last board meeting Wednesday, July 26.

“He came in at kind of a tough time,” Britton said, congratulating Smith on his retirement.

Britton also said all active fire and police personnel can go to Kings Island for free Aug. 25-27 in celebration of the amusement park’s Fire and Safety Days.

Commissioner Jeff Duncan said some mulch in the landscaping at the Highland County Courthouse has been replaced with decorative stone, following a letter from Judge Rocky Coss expressing concern about cigarette butts smoldering in the mulch.

The commissioners also passed routine resolutions.

Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570, or on Twitter @DavidWrighter.

Highland County Commissioner Jeff Duncan, left, sits in a Wednesday commissioners meeting with board president Shane Wilkin, right. County Commissioner Jeff Duncan, left, sits in a Wednesday commissioners meeting with board president Shane Wilkin, right. David Wright | The Times-Gazette
Wilkin: More contestants, judges signing up for cookoff

By David Wright

[email protected]

No posts to display