See some of the best barbeque teams in the country work their magic, sample their awesome grilled food and hear great live music during the fourth annual King City Barbeque Showdown.
Many new activities have been created for this year’s festival, adding up to a great time for adults and children. Of course, that’s in addition to some of the best barbeque in the country, carefully prepared by grilling teams competing for their share of thousands of dollars in winnings. Last year, 31 cooking teams participated, and this year’s teams already have surpassed that number.
The King City Barbeque Showdown will be held Friday, June 9, through Sunday, June 11, at the Rend Lake College MarketPlace and at Holiday Inn, both located on Potomac Boulevard in Mt. Vernon. The Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce and Rend Lake College are organizing the event.
The event is sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society, the world’s largest international organization of barbeque enthusiasts. Let none say these contestants aren’t dedicated to their craft. Many will be up in the wee hours of the morning during the contest to begin cooking. Several of the barbeque teams sport creative names as well – 2 Fat Larrys, Piggin’n’Grinnin’, Ribs’n’Bibs and the Hoosier Hogs, to name a few.
The barbequers can prepare up to four types of meat: chicken, pork ribs, pork and brisket. Later, in a room in which only KCBS representatives and media are allowed, several teams of judges will rate the barbecuing efforts of the competitors in the categories of appearance, taste and tenderness/texture.
KCBS’s judges have honed barbeque judging to a science. For instance, many people believe that “meat falling off the bone” makes for great barbeque, but to a KCBS judge, it just means the meat is overcooked. Judges trained by KCBS are qualified to judge any Kansas City Barbeque Society event in the country.
Back by popular demand is the People’s Choice Award competition. People will be able to sample the competitors’ barbeque, a luxury which prior to last year was available only to the judges. The competition will allow spectators to have a taste and cast their votes for the best-tasting tenderloin.
For just $10 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, June 9, people can sample tenderloin prepared by the cooks in their own styles, then judge for themselves who is the king of cooks. Trophies will be presented to first, second and third places.
Additional quantities of meat have been ordered this year so everyone should have the chance to participate. At last year’s event, the People’s Choice Award was so popular, the barbecuing teams eventually ran out of food.
“This is a chance for the general public to taste what the cooks prepare,” said Floyd Brookman, Executive Director of the Chamber. The barbeque contestants will be set up on the north side of the Washington Monument across the street from Lone Star Steakhouse and Saloon.
There is far more to this festival than mouth-watering barbeque. A variety of bands are lined up for all three evenings and people can come to watch the finals of the Crossroads Community Hospital Karaoke Contest:
Friday, June 9 – Blind Date (rock), 7-9 p.m.; Probably Bob (rock), 9:30 p.m.-midnight.
Saturday, June 10 – Kevin Blake Weldon (country), 1-3 p.m.; Crossroads Community Hospital Karaoke Contest Finals, 3:30-5 p.m.; Mal Rodgers (country), 5-7 p.m.; Amanda Sheridan (country), 7:30-9:30 p.m.; Jennifer Thompson (country), 10 p.m.-midnight.
Sunday, June 11 – Shady Mix (bluegrass), 1-3 p.m.; Rip Lee Pryor (blues), 3:30-5:30 p.m.
Another exciting addition to the 2006 KCBS is a full-size NASCAR simulator which features action screens and a cabin packed with surround sound to add to the experience. The car will be available at no charge at the Rend Lake College MarketPlace. Race cars from around the area also will be featured, including local track favorites. The Great Clips #38 Busch Series car will be on display as will a sports car from the road circuit.
More of a two-wheeler type of person? Check out the Harley-Davidson Show from 6-9 p.m. on Saturday. Golfers are in for a treat as well as they try to win a set of Ping irons by predicting their drives on the Rend Lake College Golf Outlet golf simulator.
Got wine? Visitors can enjoy a taste along the Wine Trail in the Woods – another new addition in 2006.
Saturday will see the return of the Crossroads Community Hospital Karaoke Contest finals. Awards of $500 will be presented to the winners in three categories – male, female and youth.
Returning to the King City Barbeque Showdown this year will be the Budweiser Clydesdales – all eight tons of them. They were wildly popular with spectators when they first appeared at the King City Barbeque Showdown. They will be on hand each day of the event and will parade up Potomac Boulevard and into the main driveway behind Holiday Inn Friday evening, Saturday afternoon and again on Sunday.
Sunday literally kicks off at 8 a.m. with the Physicians Filing Service Volleyball Tournament. Four-person teams in two categories will compete for trophies, Cardinals tickets and more on the courts located across from the RLC MarketPlace.
Youngsters also can practice their barbequing skills with their own version of a Barbeque Showdown – the “Kids-Que.” The Kids-Que will be held from 1-3 p.m. Sunday, June 11, at the Rend Lake College MarketPlace on the walkway around the Washington Monument. The children will compete in two age groups: 10 and under and 11 to 15. They will test their barbeque prowess in the categories of chicken and hot dogs. Adult supervision will be required for the younger children.
Of course, what good would a barbeque be without barbeque? The St. Mary’s / Good Samaritan Hospital Family Food Court is expanded this year and will allow hungry guests meats and treats prepared by four vendors and headlined by the local Elks Lodge of Mt. Vernon. Spectators also can take advantage of the Budweiser Beer Garden.
WDML’s David Lister will provide music and information during intermissions on Friday, and a live remote from the Rockin’ Rhino on Sunday. Local country disc jockey D.T. Brown will perform a live remote and DJ on Saturday courtesy of Dana Communications & WMIX.
The schedule of events is:
Each Day – National Railway NASCAR Simulator plus NASCAR / Busch Series display and local favorites; Budweiser Clydesdales presented by B & G Venegoni Distributing; RLC Golf Outlet golf simulator; Budweiser Beer Garden; St. Mary’s / Good Samaritan Hospital Food Court; Old National Bank Wine Trail in the Woods.
Friday, June 9 – Festival open 5 p.m.-midnight; 5-8 p.m., People’s Bank People’s Choice Awards; 7-9 p.m., Blind Date (rock); 9:30-midnight, Probably Bob (rock).
Saturday, June 10 – Festival open noon-midnight; 1-3 p.m., Kevin Blake Weldon (country); 3:30-5 p.m., Crossroads Community Hospital Karaoke Finals; 5-7 p.m., Mal Rodgers (country); 6-9 p.m., Harley Davidson Show; 7:30-9:30 p.m., Amanda Sheridan (country); 10 p.m.-midnight, Jennifer Thompson (country).
Sunday, June 11 – Festival open noon-6 p.m.; 8 a.m.-3 p.m., Physicians Filing Service Inc. Pig ‘n’ Dig Volleyball Tournament; 1-3 p.m., Kids Que; 1-3 p.m., Shady Mix (bluegrass); 3:30-5:30 p.m., Rip Lee Pryor (blues).
Additional cash sponsors for this year’s event include the City of Mount Vernon, Rend Lake College, RAM Telecom, Banterra Bank, Brooke Insurance, Coach House Garages, Charter Communications, Computer Management Assistance, Mt. Vernon Register-News, Westaff, Battery Specialists and more.
According to the Kansas City Barbeque Society’s Web site, the organization’s mission is to celebrate, teach, preserve and promote barbeque as a culinary technique, sport and art form. “Our goal is to have barbeque recognized as ‘America’s Cuisine,’” the site states. In addition to its judging classes, KCBS also teaches barbeque cooking classes around the country.
Admission to the event is $5 for adults, and children 11 and under are admitted free. Entrants can save $1 on admission by bringing in a specially marked can of Mountain Dew. There is no charge for parking.
For more information about the King City Barbeque Showdown, contact the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce at (618) 242-5725, or visit the Chamber's event Web site.