KILLEEN — About a dozen food trucks from Copperas Cove, Harker Heights, Killeen, Belton, Temple, Waco and Austin competed at the Killeen Community Center grounds Saturday morning for the third annual Battle of the Food Trucks hosted by the Hispanic-American Chamber of Commerce of Central Texas.

At 10 a.m., the judges were taken on a guided tour to each of the competing trucks, said Geri M. Schwartzman, public relations director for the chamber.

“The trucks aren’t just competing with their food,” she said. “They are competing with how the truck looks. The judges are looking at the truck, the presentation. Is it pretty? Is it clean? Are they uniformed, are they not? ... And then they taste their food.”

To keep things fair, the taste part of the competition was done indoors, in a completely randomized method, with the food served on a label-free tray, Schwartzman said.

Each plate was scored for presentation and taste, she said.

One judge, Rafael Ortiz-Martinez, general manager of the Courtyard by Marriott in Killeen, said he was impressed by the creativity, freshness and uniqueness of the food presented.

But the judges weren’t the only ones doing some tasting.

Starting at 11 a.m., the event was free and open to the public for their chance to say which truck was best.

More than 80 outdoor vendors showcased their goods while community members were treated to live-entertainment groups, police and fire trucks on display, helicopter rides, dunking booth, games and a petting zoo.

Despite the rainy weather, Mayor Jose Segarra said he was glad to have so many people come together.

“I’m always out here supporting all these events. This is a great event,” Segarra said. “Events like this is what brings people together and a lot of time you might see people who you haven’t seen in a long time.”

The mayor added: “It gets people out, neighbors out. We need more of these (events).”

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