Grown Here at Home: Smoke In Chimneys competing for chance to win $10,000 in Bull Pen competition

Smoke In Chimneys is competing for a chance to win $10,000 in the Virginia FAIRS Bull Pen competition.
Published: Nov. 7, 2022 at 5:17 AM EST
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NEW CASTLE, Va. (WDBJ) - The Virginia FAIRS Agriculture and Forestry Innovation Challenge Bull Pen Competition is coming down to its final stages. Contestants are competing for their chance to win $10,000 to advance their business ideas.

Ty Walker, owner of Smoke In Chimneys in New Castle, couldn’t believe they made the cut.

“We’re so busy, I’m like, man, I don’t want to apply and spend half a day on an application, send it, and never hear back. But I just felt like I needed to apply. Why not, ya know? And then we got an email saying, hey, you’re in the top five,” Ty explained.

Smoke In Chimneys is a trout hatchery that processes and sells rainbow trout. Ty and the crew believe in their product and want to see what they’re doing now, taken to a whole other level.

“Our idea is to take this 1930s trout hatchery and revitalize it. We felt like our business was really unique in that aspect,” Ty said.

He will be the first to tell you, the fact that the hatchery is even up and running is all due to the goodness of God.

“It was totally a God thing. I got a phone call three years ago. A friend was like, man, Ty, there’s this trout hatchery up in New Castle. My first question was, where is New Castle?” Ty explained.

With prayer and hearts full of faith, his family stepped out into a new and unpredictable season of their lives, and through it all the Lord has proven Himself faithful.

“I needed to buy another pallet of fish food, which is $3,000. I had about three or four bags left. I didn’t have the money at the time, and I said, God, please help me, you’ve brought it this far. A buddy calls me the next day. I hadn’t talked to him in months. He’s says, I’ve got a whole pallet of fish food here. There’s some bugs in it, and I’ve got to throw it away. You can have it, if you want it. You know, I can’t make this stuff up. The faith aspect of our business -- it’s not a joke, it’s not a game, it’s not some sort of ‘I’ve got my Jesus T-shirt on.’ For us, it’s very real. We do 100% give God the credit. The momentum we’ve had this year is ridiculous.”

Now it’s preparation time as they get ready to step into the Bull Pen. At the end of November, they’ll present before a panel of judges at The Greenbriar.

“We get to go somewhere else for two days and get to talk about what we’re doing. I’m stoked!” Ty said.

You have a chance to cast your vote for the People’s Choice Award. If Smoke In Chimneys gets the most votes, it will receive $2,500. Click here to cast your vote. Votes will be taken until 10 a.m. November 29.

Click here for a list of all the locations you can get Smoke In Chimneys trout.