Stars align to pit meat-eating athletes at Baby Blues
Sansom Street barbecue restaurant will host celebrity rib-eating contest with Penn athletes
April 28, 2011, 3:54 am · Updated April 28, 2011, 12:00 am·
The first time Wharton junior and Penn basketball guard Rob Belcore visited Baby Blue’s Barbeque on 34th and Sansom streets, he was with his teammate Zack Rosen and former Temple coach John Chaney.
The Quakers had just finished a midseason practice when Chaney — who was in attendance — and the Penn coaches asked Belcore and Rosen to eat at one of assistant coach Rudy Wise’s new favorite restaurants.
Since then, Belcore’s been hooked.
He befriended the owner, Stephen Fischer, and almost immediately spearheaded an event that will pair Penn athletes with professional Philadelphia athletes in an outdoor rib-eating contest.
The May 8 event will feature local celebrity athletes — both current and former — from the Phillies, 76ers, Eagles and Flyers.
Though no professional athlete’s participation is set in stone yet, Belcore said he hopes Sixers stars Evan Turner — who played AAU with Belcore — and Elton Brand can participate, as well as Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin.
In compliance with NCAA compliance rules, only graduating seniors can participate, including baseball catcher Will Davis, basketball’s Jack Eggleston and football linebacker Jake Peterson.
The event is free for all spectators, and food will be available for purchase. Though meant to be a fun, local competition, all proceeds will go to a local nonprofit called the Focas Foundation, which coordinates adoptions for inner-city children who do not have the means to succeed.
“It’s giving kids another chance,” Fischer said.
Angelo Blackson, a product of the Focas Foundation, attended Red Lion Christian Academy in Delaware and received a full scholarship to play football at Auburn University. According to the Focas Foundation website, “college would not have even been on [Blackson’s] mind” without his involvement in the program.
Blackson will be a contestant in the rib-eating competition.
The competition, which lasts from 3-6 p.m., coincides with a fundraising concert at World Cafe Live. The Baby Blue Sound Collective — a group which features pediatric cardiologists, surgeons and nurses from children’s hospitals around the world — is performing May 9.
Headlined by Gil Wernovsky, associate chief of Pediatric Cardiology at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, its name comes from ‘blue babies’ born with congenital heart disease, and its mission is to spread awareness.
The group donates money to several different groups and will also give proceeds to the Focas Foundation.
“We’re trying to make it a very local event,” Fischer said. “It’s a feel-good story.”