Bob Clarke (center) is a pillar of the Brandon community. He is hosting Brandon’s Clarke Automotive Pie Baking Contest.

Bob Clarke is a pillar of the Brandon community. He is the owner of Clarke Automotive Systems, which has been a part of the Brandon community since 1978.

“We have earned many long-term customers since we opened our business in 1978,” Clarke said. “We’re a family-run business and our customers feel like part of our extended family. Visit us and see why clients trust us to be their preferred auto repair shop for life.”

Clarke is a strong believer in supporting the Brandon community too.

“We are truly committed to our community and provide auto repair workshops for women and children,” Clarke said. “We also teach and donate equipment to Brandon High School.”

It’s because of his supporting local spirit that Clarke decided to host a local pie contest.

“The first-ever Clarke Automotive Pie Baking Contest is open to amateur bakers,” Clarke said. “Each pie must be made from scratch, no frozen pies, canned filling or premade crusts allowed. We will be taking a total of 15 contestants, five entries per week to be judged. The winner of each week will be moved into the finals. The four winning contestants will be asked for an entry to the finals, having the top three winners getting a prize.”

The first 15 contestants to enter will receive a $25 gift certificate for simply entering a pie.

Pie competitions got their start in 1949 when the Grand National Recipe and Baking Contest, what would become the Pillsbury Bake-Off, was held for the first time at the Waldorf Astoria New York hotel. It was there that competitors from across the country gathered to test their mettle against one another for the chance to win national glory and a cool $50,000. Sixty-seven years later, the biannual bake-off now awards a whopping $1 million to the first place winner (

A panel of judges from Clarke Automotive will judge the entries.

“This is a blind judging, and all decisions of the judges are final,” Clarke said. “Winners will be announced after the judging is complete. Please consider the lighthearted intention of the day and accept the final decisions of the judging panel.”

If you would like to enter the Clarke Automotive Pie Baking Contest, email your name and contact info to You will receive a confirmation email of entry.

Contestants may enter no more than one pie. A detailed recipe and a list of ingredients must accompany each pie. Each pie entered must be in the name of the person who made it.

Pies must have a bottom crust, perhaps a top crust and a filling. Sweet pies only, and tart entries are also allowed. The entrant must make crust and filling from scratch only. Pies should be submitted covered and at a proper temperature for the type of pie. Pies must be made in disposable 9 or 9-½-inch pie pans, and please, no frozen pies.

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Libby Hopkins
Libby Hopkins has been a part of the Brandon community for more than 30 years. She is a graduate of USF with a degree in journalism. She has been a freelance writer for The Osprey Observer Newspaper since 2008. She also the Executive Director of Center Place Fine Arts and Civic Association. She is a dog mom to her rescue dog, Marshall. She loves being a part of the Brandon Community and she loves sharing positive news about our community.