Crawfish Cook-off helps first responders: G.Smith Motorsports donates $20K to worthy cause

Published 10:22 am Saturday, March 14, 2020

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LULING — First responders wear different uniforms, but they are one team, undeterred by perilous situations as they fight to provide top quality care to the community.

Emergency room worker Natalie Wright has seen police and firefighters jump inside an EMS vehicle to help paramedics save a life. The people who put their lives on the line give so much of themselves every day, including their finances. In St. Charles Parish, first responders dig into their own pockets to cover hundreds of dollars worth of uniforms and equipment needed in the line of duty.

The fourth annual One Team – One Fight Crawfish Cook-off will raise money to offset the costs first responders incur. The cook-off, which features all-you-can-eat crawfish from talented local chefs, will be open to the public from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 18 at Monsanto Park, located at 13001 River Road in Luling.

The event features live music by Louisiana band “Cuisine,” as well as an assortment of activities for children and toddlers.

Presale tickets are $20 for adults and $5 for children ages 6 to 12. The cost at the door is $25 for adults and $10 for children ages 6 to 12. Children under 6 years old eat for free.

Hamburgers and hot dogs will be available, along with crawfish boil fixings. Beverages, including beer, will be available for purchase.

G.Smith Motorsports is the title sponsor for the Crawfish Cook-off. Glen Smith and Gary Smith Sr. of G.Smith Motorsports and the Magnolia Companies of Louisiana LLC recently presented One Team – One Fight board members with a $20,000 donation to keep the event thriving and bring attention to the good deeds of first responders.

Headquartered in St. Rose, the Magnolia Companies of Louisiana LCC represents a collection of businesses across St. John the Baptist, St. James and St. Charles parishes.

G. Smith Motorsports is the face of the Magnolia Companies’ marketing and philanthropy efforts.

The G.Smith team is also donating a custom-made Boruget motorcycle to be raffled off. The motorcycle will be presented at various events between now and October, and Glen Smith is confident it will be a great fundraising source.

“Instead of one of our normal bikes, we took one of the bikes that was built for us personally and made the contribution,” Glen Smith said. “First responders are the unseen key to our communities. Unfortunately, you usually meet them if there is a problem. We would like to go beyond that and recognize them when there isn’t a problem to show them how much we appreciate their service in the community.”

He added that working with first responders is one of the goals of the Magnolia Companies LLC.

Gary Smith said the One Team – One Fight Crawfish Cook-off represents a worthy cause.

“I don’t know how we could do it without you,” Gary Smith said to a group of first responders at the check presentation. “I think it’s wonderful what y’all put forth to help people.”

Natalie Wright founded the One Team – One Fight nonprofit organization in 2017. The Crawfish Cook-off began as an informal competition between the emergency room and EMS staff. It quickly grew to include emergency responders across St. Charles Parish.

“It’s amazing how everyone works together to provide care as a team,” Wright said. “We’ve had firefighters, police officers and EMS stay with us in the emergency room. We wanted to make it more public so outsiders can see the job they do. We want to provide education and funding for the equipment needed for first responders to deliver top quality care to our citizens.”

Mike Wright has spent more than $900 on a single uniform, and he’s pleased to see community donations help the charity grow.

“It’s already an underappreciated field of endeavors, and then here they are, spending their own money just to equip themselves,” he said. “The whole point is to minimize some of that cost for the individual officers while improving their quality of life and resources available to do their jobs properly.”

Funds from two years of One Team – One Fight Crawfish Cook-offs were used to purchase 0new EMS radios. The ER was able to acquire new IV carts and white boards, and the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office purchased rain jackets for on-the-road deputies. Funding from the cook-off also funded steel targets for officer training in 2019.

The fire departments in St. Charles are predominantly comprised of volunteers who work through the day and night, weekends and holidays and in the bitter cold and brutal heat. The cook-off has funded educational opportunities, and fire department representative Ashley Haydel said there’s more room to grow.

“The more the community participates in it, the more aware they become of the needs that the first responders have,” Haydel said. “It’s an opportunity to reach out to the community and educate them on what we do. It also gives us opportunities to recruit other people who want to become a volunteer firefighter.”

Approximately 50 teams will be accepted at this year’s Crawfish Cook-off, and the deadline to pre-register a team is April 7. For more information, contact Natalie Robert Wright at 504-559-5643 or email

One Team – One Fight can also be found on Facebook and at