A partnership between Sampson Community College, the Clinton-Sampson Chamber of Commerce and the Small Business Center will bring Sampson County’s first Food Truck Rodeo to town.
The rodeo will be held Sept. 12 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. on the campus of the college and feature food from six businesses from Sampson and Duplin counties.
“The purpose of the event is simple, to offer a new, fun and adventurous event to Sampson County in hopes to cultivating a true community atmosphere by bringing many people together,” Allison Strickland, director of the Clinton-Sampson Chamber of Commerce said. “A food truck rodeo is a gathering of all different types of food trucks made to serve a mass group of people,” Strickland said. “We will be offering everything from barbecue to authentic Mexican with some dessert sprinkled in for everyone.”
Being featured, by invitation only, are Southern Smoke BBQ of Garland, Somethin’ Good of Duplin County, The Little Chef of Duplin County, Taqueria Tierra Caliente of Duplin County, Pelican’s Snoballs of Roseboro and Dairy Queen of Clinton.
According to Strickland, this will be the first food truck rodeo in Sampson County history and it is open to the public. Often referred to as a food truck festival, a rodeo is an event where a group of food trucks gather in one location. The events typically feature modern food trucks emphasizing food quality and variety, a trend which has grown significantly in popularity in the United States over the past decade.
While the idea originated with Strickland, the staff of the Small Business Center and Sampson Community College were eager to jump on board.
“Allison came in and wanted to do something different and talked about creating a food truck rodeo on this side of town,” Bart Rice, Small Business Center director, said. “I really have a good feeling about the event and we have already been fielding some calls showing interest in it. I think it’s going to work out well.”
Southern Smoke BBQ, owned and operated by Matthew Register, is well known around the area for southern-style barbeque, ribs and brisket.
“The Chamber of Commerce contacted me about participating,” says Matt Register, owner of Southern Smoke BBQ. “I try to support the community as much as possible. As soon as I heard about it I was in. I am hoping that after this first event, it can pick up and grow each year.””
Somethin’ Good, owned by Amanda Ezzell of Ezzell’s Catering, is known for its homemade goodies that can be found in the Simply NC store of downtown Clinton. Somethin’ Good will be featuring candied jalapeno bacon pimento cheeseburgers, prime rib sandwiches and the “Porker Dog” topped with pulled pork and slaw.
The Little Chef participates in many events at Timberlake Golf Club, and will feature a Brazilian steak sandwich, gourmet chicken tacos and Cuban sliders.
TT Caliente will bring authentic Mexican food to the rodeo, featuring tacos, burritos, quesadillas, taco salad, tortas, gorditas with the choice flour or corn tortillas and steak, chicken, beef or pork.
For dessert, both Pelican’s Snoballs of Roseboro and Dairy Queen will be present with shaved ice and traditional dairy treats.
Strickland hopes the event will spread into the community, getting others involved.
”We would love to see parent-teacher groups come together and take orders for their teachers of the county and city school systems,” Strickland explained. “If a group is interested in doing this, all orders need to be turned into the Chamber office by Monday, Sept. 10, at 5 p.m. The pick up time will need to be included.”
While the event is being held on the college’s campus, the event is open to the public.
”We would like to encourage all the college students and staff to join us on their lunch break as well as folks from around the county,” Strickland said. “We can accommodate several lunch hours. We will be conveniently and centrally located in Clinton in the grassy area beside the college on Airport Road, accessible from Hwy 24.”
Tables and chairs will be provided for those who would like to sit and enjoy the full experience.
Dan Grubb of Sampson Community College contributed to this article.