Sampson Community College was the site for one of the largest neighborhood cookouts around the county this week. The college, in partnership with the Clinton-Sampson Chamber of Commerce, made history as county’s first-ever Food Truck Rodeo was held on campus.
“Food truck rodeos are great,” says Bart Rice, Director of the Small Business Center at SCC. “It gives operators a chance to maybe get into markets they haven’t explored before or in some cases perhaps they are considering opening a restaurant and want to expose their foods to see what people are into first. When the Chamber came to me with the idea, I said we have the perfect spot for it.”
Food truck rodeo events began gaining popularity across the country about a decade ago. The purpose of this event was simple. Organizers wanted to offer a new, fun and adventurous event to Sampson County with hopes of cultivating a true community atmosphere that brings people from across the county together. The goal is that eventually, the event can grow to become a seasonal event that could occur multiple times during the year.
Long lines were the norm at the first-ever food truck rodeo.
Matt Register, owner of Southern Smoke BBQ was one of the first to sign up for the event. “It looks like all of the food trucks have a long line,” he said. “That’s really cool, especially considering that we had to reschedule the event because of the hurricane—and even the weather today isn’t the best but despite all of that, we have already had a great response.”
The event featured five local food trucks, including Southern Smoke BBQ, which is well known around the region for awesome BBQ and southern sides. Somethin’ Good is owned by Amanda Ezzell of Ezzell’s Catering from Duplin County. They are also well known in the area. The Little Chef is also from Duplin County but well known around Clinton as they participate in many events at Timberlake Golf Club. Taqueria Tierra Caliente Mexican Food Truck (also known as TT Caliente) is from Duplin and provided authentic Mexican cuisine. Dairy Queen of Clinton, another homegrown food truck from Sampson County offered their traditional Dairy Queen desserts.
“It’s fantastic,” says Deborah Arche, co-owner of The Little Chef. This gives a chance for citizens in rural areas who may not make it to Wilmington or other bigger cities to come out and enjoy some of the different tastes the county has to offer. Going forward, we hope the event grows and becomes a mainstay for the county and the college as well.”
Any food trucks wishing to participate in future events or to find out more information about it should contact the Chamber of Commerce at 910.592.6177 to set up a tasting.