The annual event gives hungry participants a chance to try a wide variety of pizzas while raising funds to help children play sports

Whether you are a meat eater, a cheese fanatic, or a dessert connoisseur, Pizza Pigout has something for everyone. The annual event allows hungry participants to try a wide variety of pizzas while raising funds to help children play sports.

Local sports media personality Eric Francis started the Pizza Pigout 17 years ago because he wanted to create an environment where people could meet for a light-hearted pizza-tasting competition and raise money for KidSport Calgary, The Big Give Project, and the Youth Can Play Project.

“I just thought, ‘is there anyone in the world that doesn’t love pizza?’ Everyone loves pizza, so why isn’t there a contest out there celebrating pizza? And that’s what the Pigout is kind of about,” said Francis.

After a five-year hiatus the Pigout returned in 2013. The 12th annual Pizza Pigout occurred Wednesday, Nov. 12 at Cowboys Casino in Calgary.

“Everything in my life is because of sports. As a kid growing up, sports was everything to me… it keeps you fit, it keeps you active, and you learn about dispute resolution, you learn how to get along with others, you learn how to win, you learn how to lose, learn how to take care of your body,” said Francis, who has been a spokesperson and supporter of KidSport for 18 years.

“There are so many lessons that sports teaches you and it is so sad to think that there are kids that can’t learn those lessons because of financial constraints.”

KidSport Calgary is a charity that helps less fortunate families who do not have the funds to get their kids involved in sports.

The charity works closely with local sports clubs and families to get children involved in sports by helping to pay for registration fees and buy the necessary equipment. KidSport Calgary has raised $5 million since 1995 while supporting over 24,000 kids in Calgary.Guest attending the Pigout event and enjoying some delicious pizza.

Photo by Savaya Shinkaruk

Many members of the Calgary Flames were present at the Pigout, including the president of hockey operations Brian Burke, general manager Brad Treliving, head coach Bob Hartley, and player Joe Colborne. Members of the Calgary Stampeders were also in attendance.

Colborne said, “I was given a great opportunity to play sports growing up, so for me to help the kids have a chance to be active and have fun is a great experience.”

More than 1,000 people attended the event, helping Francis and KidSport reach their goal of raising $150,000.

“This has become a big rally for the sports community too,” says Francis.

He will announce the next Pizza Pigout event in the New Year.

sshinkaruk@cjournal.ca