OPELIKA, Ala. (WRBL) — A rare opportunity awaits an Opelika resident after an intense steak-grilling process. Marty Burroughs, 37, will compete as one of seven finalists in the LongHorn Steakhouse Steak Masters competition on Thursday, May 25 in a grill-off for the title of Steak Masters Series Champion and a grand prize of $15,000.

To get to this point, Burroughs had to make it through four rounds of grill-offs against 5,000 other LongHorn Grill Masters from across the country. He explained this is the first time he has competed in the tournament, although it is not the first time he has qualified. He was unable to compete previously due to the death of his mother.

He admitted he was feeling some nerves ahead of the final round, which will be in Orlando, Florida.

“[I’m] just kind of anxious…kind of got a little bit of butterflies but ready to get down and get started,” Burroughs said. He noted he was already thinking about the steaks and studying up on what he needed to know on the day of competition.

According to Burroughs, his greatest strength lies in the knowledge he has built as LongHorn Steakhouse employee for the past 17 years.

“I’ve been around the block several times,” Burroughs said. He added his position as a Quarterback is his weakness because it means he rarely cooks a steak from start-to-finish during his 40-hour work week.

For Burroughs’ manager Chelsea Elmore, this is far from a weakness.

“I’m very proud of him. … but the fact that he doesn’t work on a grill every day [and] can execute and, you know, call out the specs and send out steak cooked correct is just amazing,” said Elmore, who added Burrough’s Opelika LongHorn team is thankful to have him.

Burroughs and Elmore agreed his toughness and upbringing are what set him apart.

“I’m just built a certain way. I’m from Detroit, you know the Motor City… having been through and experience what I experienced, you know, people don’t quite understand the concepts the way I look at it and stuff like that,” Burroughs said.

The Steak Master finalist explained he moved to Opelika at 18 and spent seven years there before moving back to Detroit, where he married his now-wife before eventually moving back to Opelika.

Elmore noted Burroughs is “built tough” and said, “That’s one of my lines, but you can’t break my boy, so he can bring it home.”

If all goes according to plan, Burroughs has an idea of what he wants to do with the prize money.

“My daughter’s graduating [in the] next couple days and so, you know, put some of it in savings and get her a car or something like that,” he said, adding his family has been incredibly supportive, though competing is bittersweet without his mother.