"It's a gentle roast, but they'll still be poking fun at him." - Missy Marshall
SIKESTON - If you've ever wondered what people really think about you, the Sikeston Area Chamber of Commerce's Gentle Roast is a good place to find out.
The guest of honor is subjected to ridicule and bantering throughout the evening by individuals who delight in seeing the honored guest squirm.
On Oct. 10 their needling will be aimed at Jerry Pullen.
This year's roast is set from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the Clinton Building at the Recreation Complex.
Although Pullen would shake his head in modest disagreement, it is his kindness and generosity to the community that has earned him this particular spot in the limelight.
The Gentle Roast recognizes individuals who have made a difference in the community. According to many, that describes Pullen perfectly.
"Jerry has done a lot for this community and we felt like he deserved to be recognized for it," said Missy Marshall, the Sikeston Area Chamber of Commerce's executive director.
"Besides contributing to the community through his business, he's on the Kenny Rogers Children's Center Board of Directors, past president and an active member of the Lions Club, is an active member of the Chamber of Commerce and is on the city council.
"He's been a good sport in agreeing to be roasted," she said. "It's a gentle roast, but they'll still be poking fun at him. The surprise of the evening is that he doesn't know who is roasting him. We keep the roasters a secret."
"I think this is a great idea to get up there and get ridiculed," joked Pullen, owner of Pullen Brothers Inc. "I was surprised when they asked me. I was going to be out of town that day but they must've needed somebody because they wanted me to be there. I'm honored, I just hope they keep it clean," he laughed.
Last year 150 area residents gathered for the roasting of Phil Boyer who remembers the evening well. "I was roasted by my good friends. I was glad to help out the Chamber, but I would rather have been cooking ribs," he joked. "You really do have to not only have a good sense of humor, but a large one to be roasted."
Those who have not yet been to one of the Chamber's infamous Gentle Roasts don't know what they're missing, some would say.
Mike Marshall, who emceed last year's event and will assume the role again this year, described the event as having a laid-back atmosphere where everyone can feel at ease. "There is joking about the person being roasted and it's just clean fun. Anyone who's being roasted has a big list of accomplishments. Jerry's been in everything, he's the king of volunteering."
Tickets are $20 each. Individuals who would like to attend are encouraged to purchase tickets now to make certain a seat is reserved. Deadline to buy tickets is Oct. 7.
For more information on the Gentle Roast contact the SACC at 471-2498.
As last year's Gentle Roast victim what's Boyer's advice to Pullen? "Be out of town," he quipped.