HELENA — Tailgates and football games go hand in hand, and one Carroll College tailgate is giving back to first responders with free barbecue and fundraising for underprivileged kids.
“Two briskets, six racks of baby back ribs, hamburgers, brats, regular Mac and cheese, jalapeno Mac and cheese, we have two whole turkeys, shredded beef, pulled pork and baked beans,” said Ken Mclean, owner of Big Sky Smoke’n BBQ.
Fully stocked with a feast during the Carroll College versus Southern Oregon football game, Mclean prepared to honor first responders for all they do for the community as well as hoping to raise $1,500 for Heroes and Helpers.
It's a program that gives underprivileged kids a chance to holiday shop.
"What we do is we take children shopping at Target and each one of them gets a gift card to buy stuff for themselves and then we give their family a dinner that's typically sponsored by Albertsons and Safeway and then a Home Depot gift card, but it feels awesome to be able to help them. It's really about partnering with our community and giving back,” said Lewis and Clark County Cpl. Greg Holmlund.
Holmlund joined Mclean in the effort to give back to first responders who helped with 60 seized horses from an animal neglect case in June of 2021, as well as bring holiday cheer to families who need help.
“Why not the heroes and helpers program here in town for all the kids that need help because there are always more kids than what actually sign up so,” said Mclean.
And the best part of it all?
“It's fun that we can give back to the community and honor all the heroes in our community,” said Holmlund.
Mclean hopes to bring his grill sergeant skills to the Brawl of the Wild game in Missoula in the coming weeks, and the business offers 15 percent off discounts to military and first responders all year.