Getting squirrely at a cook-off

Spring has sprung and that smell in the air isn't just fresh flowers; it's gator gumbo and turtle chowder.

Saturday, a local wild game cook-off in Mt. Sterling pressured contestants to use their imagination when it came to creating recipes.

"We are not only serving squirrel gravy tonight, we are the two-time defending champions," said Jeff McDaniel.

McDaniel is no stranger to Quananda's Wild Game Cook-Off, he and his partner have yet to be beat. Last year, their Mountain Man stew may have tied for first, but this time, they're determined to take it all with squirrel gravy and theme.

"Hillbilly style you know, popcorn sutton you know, we got moonshine over there, we got the whole thing going," said Rick Reich.

"Well, it's just the way we cook it," said McDaniel. "It really is just cooked to perfection, it's tended, it's the best stuff here, it really is."

If taste and theatrics don't win over the judges, they have a few other tricks up their overalls.

"We made some complimentary deer antler spoons for them to seriously bribe them. Seriously, that's what we're doing," said McDaniel.

Even with all the fun going on, participants can't forget that all the proceeds made from the cook-off go to a serious cause.

"We are the domestic violence center and the rape crisis center in our service area," said Megan Duesterhaus, Quananda's executive director. "We provide counseling, legal advocacy, mental advocacy and emergency shelter. All of our services are free and one hundred percent confidential."

Something contestants are proud to support.

"If we can win, we always feel honored to give a hundred percent of the proceeds back," said Reich.

The first place winner in the cook off wins $300.