GALETON — Trail’s End at the Waldheim retained two of its titles from 2022, but added a third in this year’s King of the Wing.
At the event on Saturday, May 13, the Trail’s End crew retained its title of Fan Favorite and Judge’s Favorite, and added Most Wings Sold with a whopping 1,481.
What’s the secret to chicken wing making success?
“Fresh, not frozen,” said one cook.
“Crispy,” chimed in a second.
All of the flavors on the Trail’s End menu board are available at the restaurant, said booth staff. Favorites among the crowd are garlic parmesan, “Kickin’ Bourbon,” Waldheim Hollow and mango habanero.
Taking second in the Most Wings Sold category was The Right Wing with 1,100 wings and Darby’s Barbecue with 1,000 wings.
This year’s competitors only numbered four as compared to 11 in 2022, said organizer Steve Benna. Proceeds from the event, which is sponsored by the Galeton Chamber of Commerce, benefit the Goodyear Hose Fire Company.
Eleven different wings is a lot for judges to sample, Benna said. He hopes to keep it to 6-8 competitors for the future King of the Wings.
But within each wing maker’s booth, there was a variety of flavors ranging from three to nine.
Jesse Olson, Bob Kalacinski and Quentin Gee were the cooks behind the Raymond Richar VFW Post #661.
“We like to cook stuff,” said Kalacinski why asked why they took part. It was also an opportunity to try out the new smoker.
They sold about 400 wings in three flavors: Sweet Heat, the crowd’s favorite; a “naked” smoked wing and jalapeno maple.
The Right Wing is a group from Philadelphia, childhood friends of Benna’s, who made the five-hour trip to take part. Wingmaster Brad May said he does a lot of tailgates for the Philadelphia Eagle games and wanted to support the local community.
This group offered a Korean barbecue, Nashville hot and strawberry habanero. Wing eaters were fairly evenly divided among the flavors, although the booth sold out of strawberry habanero.
Darby’s Barbecue, staffed by Brad Mann and DJ Fuller, offered four flavors: a seasoned smoked dry rub, their take on an Alabama white sauce, honey garlic using locally-sourced honey, and maple barbecue, using local maple.
All flavors sold well with the booth selling out of honey garlic and having to make additional maple barbecue.
This year’s panel of judges included borough council President Joe Petrencsik and member Darrel Jackson, Galeton School District Superintendent Clyde Pierce and Mike Clark.
In addition, a duck race was held to support the booster club. Three hundred ducks were sold and dumped into the waters around the park. Coming in first was Bill Davis with Vince and Kristie Bawen in second and Lincoln Pierce rounding out the top three.