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Local Pizza Makers Compete for Big Dough in Cheesy Competition

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HOPE MILLS — Call it a cheesy competition! Pizza makers from across the southeast were in Cumberland County Thursday, competing for big dough in the Papa John's International Pizza Games.

Papa John's pizza makers competed to create six quality pizzas and two orders of breadsticks in the fastest time.

Doing so is an art.

"Your dough has got to be perfect. You have to have the right slab, the right sauce, the right pepperoni. No folded pepperoni," says pizza maker David Kelly.

The top ten teams from across the United States and Mexico will compete for a grand prize of $25,000.

Last year's winner was a Fayetteville native who now works in South Carolina. How did he spend his dough?

"Half went into a college fund for my oldest child who is 14, and my wife spent the rest of the money," says J.R. Chastain.

He says the secret is to stay calm.

"We've seen some sauce borders a little messier than we like to, cheese on the edges. Overall the quality is good," says Jeff Nelson, regional franchise director and judge.

The pace may seem fast, but pizza makers say this is not as heated as a night at work.

There are still more regional competitions to go, but so far, Chastain and his team hold the fastest time.

A lot of pizzas were made, and all tasted great. Papa John's surprised local day care centers, schools, fire and police stations with the contest entries.

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Melissa Buscher, Reporter
Michael Joyner, Photographer
Michelle Singer, Web Editor

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