Carmen Corner Meats walked away with the trophy for best Mennonite Sausage at the fourth-annual Lord of the (Sausage) Rings event in Osler on Friday, November 2.
The Waldheim-area meat processor also captured three other plaques in the blind taste-test gala, including top prizes for Appearance, Texture and Flavour.
Smokey Joe’s Meat Shop of Rheinland won the VIP Table’s Choice award at the sold-out event.
Don and Louella Friesen own and operate Carmen Corner Meats. Colin and Jennifer Hiebert are also heavily involved in the operation.
“It’s nice to get the nod from the people,” said Don Friesen after the presentation of the award. “Everybody has their own taste in sausage, so it’s very subjective, but I think it speaks to the quality of the product.”
Friesen said the winning pork sausage is the same recipe the company has used for the last five or six years.
“We’ve tweaked it a bit along the way, but not a lot,” he said.
The top meat processors in the area compete for the highly-coveted trophy. This year the competitors included Carmen Corner Meats, Smokey Joe’s, J & J Sausage of Warman, Ideal Meats of Neuhorst, Pine View Farms of Osler, Riverside Meats of Warman, Smokehaus Meats and Deli of Martensville and Valley Meats of Gruenthal.
The gala event, organized by the Osler Special Events Committee, is a popular fundraiser and promotional spotlight for Mennonite Sausage producers in the Saskatchewan Valley area.
Osler Mayor Abe Quiring said the funds generated by the event are earmarked for the purchase of a covered stage for the community’s annual July 1 Concert in the Park, which attracts hundreds of people on Canada Day.
In the past, funds from the event have gone toward a concrete floor for Osler’s outdoor rink so that it can be used year-round.
This year’s event paid tribute to Pat Bodnar, the community’s 2018 Citizen of the Year and a long-time teacher at Osler School. Bodnar’s husband, Barry, passed away last month.
A plaque reading: “Thank you for your outstanding leadership and passion for children of the Osler community. You have made a difference” was presented to Bodnar by Quiring on behalf of the Town of Osler.
A Clavet-based country-bluegrass-gospel quartet, the Willie Sons, provided top-shelf entertainment at the event. Reed Willison, Brendan Varcoe, Tyler Bergen and Alf Epp have been playing together for about 15 years and have two CDs out.