SHAMOKIN - One by one, the judges passed the small disposable plates from one person to the next, taking a soupie sample with each turn, and forming an opinion with each bite.

On the table before them, were golden trophies - three to be exact - of varying sizes with gleaming pig statuettes perched on top. They would eventually be handed to the first, second and third place winners of the inaugural Soupie Contest Saturday night at the West End Fire Company.

The six judges ranked each sample with a raise of a hand and an appropriate amount of fingers: zero for bad, five for the best.

In all, they would taste 40 samples in front of a loud, thirsty crowd of more than 100 soupie and beer lovers.

"Awesome," is the only response West End head trustee/treasurer and event organizer Jeff Thew said about the success of the night.

When he heard the Forest Hill Fire Company, Trevorton Road, would not be hosting its famous soupie contest this year, he sprung into action two weeks ago to plan Saturday's event, he said.

Registration was held from noon to 6 p.m. and judging started at 6:30 p.m.

The judging team consisted of Frank Graboski, Dave Dixson, Tommy Petrovich, Moe Kovack, Lisa Thew and Ed Griffiths, all members of the West End.

The master of ceremonies was Steven Bradley, who moderated when the munchies came out of the kitchen and when the judges were allowed to cleanse their palates.

The record keepers were Greg Wisloski and someone who identified himself only as Buddy Bob, who wrote down the scores the judges gave each soupie sample.

At the end of the samples, the top eight were rejudged.

The winners were not available Saturday night.

Next year, said Thew, the contest will also feature a Night of Champions in which the winners of this year's contest and the winners of any soupie contest ever will compete against each other.MIKE STAUGAITIS/Staff Photo