An array of comfort food and eccentric dishes were featured in the 2017 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™ Gold Buckle Foodie Awards.
On-air personalities from local TV and radio stations served as taste testers for the competition while vendors waited nervously at the other end of the room for the final verdict.
Some judges hardly seemed to take a breath between rounds, choosing winners in the following categories: Best Breakfast Food, Classic Fair Food, Best Value, Best Food-on-a-Stick, Best Fried Food, Most Creative Food, Best New Flavor and Best Dessert.
Kimberly Revis, owner of Custom Confections, is no Gold Buckle Foodie rookie. She has won the award for Best Fried Food item at the Show for two consecutive years. This year, as she paced around the food entry table, her eye was on a different prize — Most Creative Food.
“My husband wanted a more cost efficient menu item for this year,” Revis said. “So, we opted for the Donutwich Deluxe instead of the Ultimate.” A risky move considering the Ultimate, a four-dessert-in-one, won Most Creative Food in 2016.
The Donutwich Deluxe ultimately placed second in the 2017 Most Creative Food category.
One unwilling to take a risk with new items this year was Stubby’s Cinnamon Roll’s. A longtime Show vendor, Stubby’s entered four fan-favorites in the competition — Cinnamon Roll with Icing, Big Stone Breakfast Sandwich, Loaded Baked Potato and The Works Cinnamon Roll.
In the end, Stubby’s dominated the Gold Buckle Foodie Awards with three category wins for Best Breakfast Food, Classic Fair Food and Best Value.
The final award of the afternoon, Best New Flavor, was given to Mad Hatter Funnel Cakes #2 for their Chocolate Dipped Oatmeal Cream Pie. This was the first win for owner Mike Ousey, who entered the competition for the first time this year.
“I’ve been here for years but normally don’t have the time to enter,” Ousey, who operates his own stands, said. “I decided that I wanted to enter [the competition] particularly because of the Oatmeal Cream Pie and the Chocolate Dipped Pecan Pie.”
Eighteen new flavors were entered in this year’s Best New Flavor category, but Hatter’s Cream Pie had the judges asking themselves, “Have I gone mad?”
You too can become a Gold Buckle Foodie by downloading the RODEOHOUSTON Mobile App and playing the Food Awards scavenger hunt! Eat all 8 Gold Buckle Foodie Award winning items and head over to the Social Station, located at the entrance of Hall D, to claim your free prize. View the complete list of winners here.