Pederson’s Natural Farms Podcast: Powered by Protein! host Neil Dudley recently sat down with Sandi and Owen Carlson to discuss their two charities, Niki Warms the Cold and Children with Type 1 Diabetes. Their most significant fundraising event of the year, Bacon Bash Texas, is coming up on October 16. Pederson’s is a big part of the effort, donating 500 lbs of bacon for the event every year.But before we get too far into all that Bacon Bash Texas encompasses, let’s first discuss why it exists: the charities near and dear to the Carlsons’ hearts. Niki Warms the Cold began after Sandi and Owen lost their daughter, Niki Carlson. While visiting for Thanksgiving in 2009, she asked her mother Sandi, “Mom, will you save your blankets? I want to keep them in my car. And when I see someone who needs one, I want to hand it to them.” After Niki passed away the following March, the family chose to honor Niki by taking her idea and building on it. First, they began collecting blankets, then coats, socks, and other items to help keep people in need warm and fed. The charity grew from there and eventually became Bacon Bash Texas.
Unfortunately, the family would experience loss again.
Lexie Finstad was Niki’s cousin. She helped out with distribution for Niki Warms the Cold and told Sandi, “I want to make a difference like Niki. I just want to be here to see it.” Unfortunately, Lexie was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age seven, and sadly, it took her life in 2014.
Lexie attended a camp aimed at supporting and educating children with Type 1 Diabetes for nine years, and it had a wonderful impact on her life. When the Carlsons realized they could use funds from Bacon Bash to help Lexie’s legacy contribute to aiding others, they decided to start providing scholarships for camps like the one she attended. Additional scholarships are given for Dexcom Glucose Monitoring Systems, which allow parents to remotely monitor their children’s glucose level, a life saving tool.
While it may have been born out of the family’s tragedy and loss, Bacon Bash Texas is a celebration of life. As Niki would say, “Having fun is fun!” and that philosophy is in abundance at every Bacon Bash.
Bacon Bash Texas is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. The event, held in Cranfills Gap, Texas, takes over the entire main drag. Each team receives 15-20 lbs of bacon and creates a recipe with it. “The rules are to make something with that and serve samples to the people. That's basically the only rules,” said Neil, who also serves on the Board of Directors for Bacon Bash. “We end up doing live judging up on the stage. We have entertainment. Bands come and play.”
And while Bacon Bash Texas is a lot of fun, Neil feels there’s a bigger purpose behind this particular Pederson’s podcast.
”This is really about introducing you to Owen and Sandi Carlson, a couple of beautiful people that do great things each and every day. And there are people just like them in your communities wherever you are. Give them a hug, tell them they're awesome because they deserve it,” said Neil.
For more information on Bacon Bash Texas, to purchase tickets, or simply donate, visit the Bacon Bash Texas website.