Smoke & Soul Fest 2017

Casper, Wyoming - The Yellowstone Garage parking lot was filled with smokers of all kinds as the first annual Smoke And Soul Fest hit Casper Saturday. The fest featured competitors from all over the region competing for the best BBQ food. But it wasn't just ribs and chicken on their mind...they were trying to help a cause.

Competition was heating up as meat was smoked, prepped and enjoyed as the first Annual Smoke And Soul Fest hit the Oil City.

“It started as a music festival. Somebody mentioned BBQ, got online and said 'ya know if you're gonna do a BBQ competition, you gotta go all the way and go Kansas City Bbq Society Sanctioned event,” said Dawn Lacko with the Brain Injury Alliance of Wyoming.

While it seems like a competition, the goal is to help out The Brain Injury Alliance Of Wyoming and their mission.

“We try to prevent brain injuries, because a brain injury is for life. So we have a number of different activities that we do,” said Lacko.

The alliance, has been serving the cowboy state for over 20 years, and has picked up some steam recently. One competitor says the cause lit the fire in their smokers.

“My son's currently in the military. He's getting out of the military. He got injured in Iraq, currently has a TBI. So this kinda hit home for us,” Kevin Bracken a Smoke and Soul competitor.

The alliance has had a hand in keeping families afloat as they recovered from brain injuries.

“We have case management, representative payee services. and we have the durable medical equipment loan closet. Which is providing walkers, shower chairs, things like that  for people after surgeries, because falls is the single greatest cause of brain injuries,” said Lacko.

Aside from the cook off, a helmet station was giving away helmets to kids for activities from skateboarding to horse riding.

“So if kids wear helmets when they're on their skateboards, on horses, we've got equestrian helmets, and bikes they're safer. so we give them away,” Lacko said.

“Here in casper, we have a lot of non-profits and people are very philanthropic, and this is just another way to raise some money for a good cause,” said competitor Brian Duerloo, another competitor. “A lot more people than you know have a brain injury, from a motorcycle accident or a fall or whatever so it's good.”