First annual smoke-off supports local students

To help usher in a new year of education, Bonney Lake Mayor Neil Johnson and the Johnson Cancer Foundation is hosting its first ever smoke-off and auction to raise money for students looking to further their schooling.

The smoke-off and silent auction is planned for 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16, at Swiss Park. Dinner and a live auction will follow at 6 p.m. and dancing at 8 p.m.

“It’s a dream come true and a long time in the making for the Foundation to be at this point,” Johnson said. “The other great part is that we will be awarding our first scholarship at the event.”

While Johnson is hoping people will come to just have fun and learn more about their foundation and their purpose, he’s also hoping more folks will sign up for the smoke off.

So far, five teams have signed up, but he’s hoping to double that number.

To compete, teams must provide 10 samples each of ribs, chicken and “mystery meat” by the time judging begins.

Competitors must provide their own materials, including smoker or barbecue, tables, chairs, and other necessary tools.

Teams are allowed to arrive at 8 a.m. to begin setting up.

To apply to compete, hear to (or click here).

Tickets to the event are $20. Dinner will be catered by Dixies BBQ.

All money raised at the event will go toward to the Johnson Cancer Foundation, which provides scholarships to students whose lives have been affected by cancer.


The Johnson Cancer Foundation officially began early February 2017, although its founder has been thinking of starting the non-profit long before even he was diagnosed with cancer.

In 2008, Johnson’s nephew Kevin Patoc died of leukemia while attending Hawai’i Pacific University.

While Patoc was sick, his parents were attempting to secure scholarships for their other children, but couldn’t because of their high income.

“They kept getting turned down, because on paper, they made too much money,” Johnson recalled. “But the reality was, when the bills came in, they were broke.”

Johnson had the same experience when he was trying to find scholarships for his eldest daughter Rendi while he was being treated with cancer.

“So I told my wife, after my transplant, I said if I make it through this, we need to get a foundation started for the kids in our area that doesn’t disqualify you because of what your income tax statement says,” Johnson said. “It will base it on reality.”

This year, the Johnson Cancer Foundation offered a total $12,000 in scholarships.

The scholarship is open to all students in the Sumner, White River and Enumclaw school districts who have been personally affected, or their immediate family has been impacted, by cancer.

Applicants can be attending a four-year university, a community college or a vocation school.

Applications for the 2017-2018 school year are due April 27.