BBQing Unto Others
It’s simple. You have a cause that needs funds and they serve barbecue to help you raise them. Roy Boydstun and Ed Shoemaker operate Pig On the Run Barbecue, a wholly unique fund-raising venture that helps charities achieve their goals while Boydstun and Shoemaker pursue theirs: the perfect ribs. All proceeds from the perfect ribs go to fund-raising. Every cent.
Boydstun began searching for a way to give back to his community when he served as Seminole’s Fire Chief. “I always believed that if we worked for the community, then the community would support us,” says Boydstun.
Boydstun started his giving career a long way from barbecue. He and his firefighters played pick-up games against teams assembled by other fire departments, businesses or just about anybody else that would take the court against them. Boydstun and his team played for money – money that they channeled into a worthy cause. During Boydstun’s tenure as Fire Chief, his team raised over $75,000 to help local residents pay medical bills.
After retiring from the fire department, Boydstun found a lot of free time on his hands. He decided to expand his charity efforts. His desire to give and his passion for barbecue intersected – and intertwined – to produce Pig On the Run.
“In 1994, a good friend approached me about raising money for cancer care,” Boydstun says, “So I contacted a local store about using their property. I set up the smoker, sold some good barbeque and helped raise over $3,500 in just that one day to help my friend pay for his care.”
That was in 1994, and Roy’s been a fund-raising machine ever since. He’s cooked for over 60 fund-raising events, with proceeds going to everything from community medical needs to church benefits. “I knew a minister at a church that would feed hungry children each Wednesday night,” says Boydstun, “They ran out of money so we put together a fund-raiser and were able to raise enough money to help keep that program going.”
Oddly, Boydstun’s partner, Ed Shoemaker, has never been known as much of a cook. In fact, he says that for many years, if his wife hadn’t cooked each night, he might not have eaten anything at all. That’s changed since he teamed up with Boydstun, the barbecue ninja. Shoemaker’s mastered ribs, briskets, polish sausages and pork loins.
“We feel like all throughout our lives, we’ve been blessed,” Shoemaker says, “There’ve been people who approached us for booster club benefits or new baseball field fences. We’ve had to turn those down. Our theory is if we can help people that need help, we’ll just stick with that.”
When Boydstun tinkered with the idea of opening his own restaurant, he learned something unusual about himself. “I hated every minute of it,” he says.
For most benefits, Pig On the Run will cook 40 slabs of ribs and countless sausages, smoked hams and turkeys. They make their own barbeque sauce by the gallon, and can never get enough satisfaction from watching people enjoy their art.
At the end of a fund-raiser, Boydstun and Shoemaker load up the remaining oak and hickory, spices and the smoker knowing that while their profit totaled zero, their compassion and willingness to help those in need is truly priceless.