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October 27th, 2021

salsa showdown 2021 flyerELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


Foodies on the lookout for good food to try will soon have a chance to do just that thanks to the Sigma Alpha sorority. 

This year's Salsa Showdown hosted by the Sigma Alpha sorority will be Saturday, Oct. 9 at the Liberal Country Club at 339 W. 18th Street. The salsa tasting will be at 6 p.m., with a Mexican buffet to begin at 6:30 p.m., and then there will be a live/silent auction starting at 7:30 p.m. The proceeds will go to Bright Futures, and tickets are available at El-Kan Drug at 1033 N. Kansas Ave. For ticket questions or to reserve tables, people can call or text Holli Horyna at (620) 655-6843, and for salsa entries, people can contact Jennifer Hyde at (620) 482-2239. Tickets are $20 per in advance or $25 per person at the door the evening of the event. Entrants must submit one gallon of salsa, and there is no cost to enter the competition. The judges' award is $200, and the people's choice award is $200. 

“Since we had last year off, we're looking forward to really good turnout,” coordinator Lisa Hatcher said. “The Salsa Showdown is always a fun event to get people to come out to. And because this is for Bright Futures and we're donating toward what we think is a good cause, we hope for a ton of support that will help children in the community. Our big thing is we want children to stay in school. We want them to stay in school, graduate, and then go on to live good lives.”

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“There are people in the community who don't fully grasp how much Bright Futures impacts the lives of so many local children, whether it's giving them a few school supplies or something even bigger, there's a wide variety of things Bright Futures accomplishes for local children,” Horyna added. “And on the salsa side, it's great seeing all the different people who come out. And at our last Salsa Showdown, we had a very wide variety of salsas submitted ranging from spicy salsa to fruit salsas to avocado salsas – there were a lot of salsas to sample. And people loved the chance to sit around and talk and sample all the different delicious salsas.”

With last year’s event having to be canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, both Hatcher and Horyna said they hope to see a big turnout for this year’s event. 

“The easiest way to turn out is buy a ticket and then come out and try all the salsas that night. There's no fee to enter, but we do have a limit on salsas because no matter how delicious salsa can be, having too much of it can be a little overwhelming,” Hatcher said. “The two main prizes are $200 each, so everyone has a chance to win that. And even though this is being hosted at the country club, you don't have to be a member in order to come out, the event is open to everyone.”

“And the prize winners are never the same, no one salsa has ever taken home both prizes in the handful of years we've done this,” Horyna added. “And people can reserve tables, so if someone wants to have a table for them and their group of friends, they can do that.”

Hatcher and Horyna added they are also still taking salsa entries for this year’s event. 

“It's free to enter, and there's not really anything to lose. Lots of people make great salsa, and each recipe is uniquely delicious,” Hatcher said. “Holli and I love to cook and share recipes, and we both also love trying others' recipes, so I hope we get a bunch of entries this year of people sharing their salsa-making talents.”

“And there's not really any restrictions on the types of salsa that can be submitted – whatever the participants bring is what will be sampled, we're not really looking for anything specific,” Horyna added. 

Overall, Horyna and Hatcher agreed, one of the best parts of doing the Salsa Showdown is seeing everyone together. 

“It's always great seeing people together for a fun evening, that's always great. And there's no pressure for anything, it's a great and fun evening where people can come out and unwind and enjoy some delicious salsa and the food that will be in the Mexican buffet,” Horyna said. “It's also not an event that lasts terribly long, we usually wrap things up after a couple of hours. And every ticket includes use of the buffet, and you can include a little bit of salsa with the food you get from that. Overall, there will be a lot of great food that night.”

“I also like how we're able to give some money to a great cause like Bright Futures, they do so much for the children in Liberal,” Hatcher added. “Our goal as a sorority is to donate as much money as we can to the group, this is our big gift to them. We've donated more than $10,000 through our Salsa Showdowns, and all of that is going toward a great local cause that has such a big impact on local children.”

Hatcher and Horyna added they would like to see the event continue growing in the future. 

“I'd like to see it continue to grow. We do have people who look forward to this event every year because they love salsa, so I'd love to see it continue to grow and I'd love to see us possibly serve more salsas at future events,” Hatcher said. “And if you can’t make it to the event but still want to show some support, I'd say the best thing to do would be to make a donation directly to Bright Futures, and they can get ahold of them regarding all of that. We do have some people who don't attend, but they buy the tickets in order to show support for Bright Futures. We also have people who donate the prize moneys, which is great since that doesn't come out of our direct budget. We work with a lot of people on this, and we all work together really well to make this so big every year. I hope everyone comes out and has a good time that evening.”

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