Gavin Forth

Members of team G STRONG with Gavin Forth celebrate their success at the annual Montana Pitmaster Classic barbecue last weekend. Three Forks High School student Gavin Forth continues to excel after an ATV accident two years ago. Forth will donate the prize money to Craig Hospital in Colorado to help offset costs to future patients.

For the second year in a row, a Three Forks High School student has chosen to give back to the hospital that cared for him after he was severely injured in an ATV accident two years ago.

Gavin Foth, with the help of enthusiastic family members and friends, won last weekend’s Montana Pitmaster Classic barbecue competition in Bozeman. The annual event, sponsored by Kenyon Noble, is a fund-raiser for the Gallatin Valley YMCA, with 30  percent of contestants’ earnings going to the Y. Foth decided in advance to donate 100 percent of his remaining earnings to Craig Hospital in Colorado, where he spent six months in the facility’s spinal cord rehabilitation program after his September 2017 accident.

Foth’s mother Kortney Combs said that Team G STRONG’s final earnings from last weekend haven’t been calculated yet, but she expects that Foth will be able to present at least a couple thousand dollars to Craig when he travels there for his next checkup. Last year he donated $1,800 earned from Team G STRONG’s first Pitmaster competition.

“It’s such a good facility,” Foth said this week. “I give back to Craig.”

Combs said that after learning the ropes at the 2018 Pitmaster competition, Team G STRONG decided to offer more “outrageous” fare to the crowd this year, and it paid off. 

“We decided we’d up the ante and try to get as much money (for Craig) as we could,” Combs said.  “We had alligator shipped in from Louisiana on Friday morning. We won the Peoples Choice Award on Friday, and we sold the most food to the public.”

In addition to authentic alligator meat, Team G STRONG also served such delicacies as smoked apple pies baked by friend Stephanie Leitem, and “armadillo eggs,” (jalapenos and cheese wrapped in bacon).

“Our line was outrageous” Combs said. “We couldn’t even keep up – it was crazy.”

She noted that even people who decided they weren’t adventurous enough to try the team’s exotic offerings were moved to contribute to the cause.

“The community was amazing – people just randomly started donating to Craig,” she said.

Now a senior at Three Forks High, where he played on the football and basketball teams before his accident, Foth is planning for his future and continuing his therapy to grow stronger and more independent.

One definite future plan is participating in next year’s Pitmaster Classic, though exactly how Team G STRONG will improve upon its menu is yet to be determined, his mother said.