Some of the world’s best barbeque, great blues and country music and a chance to win a Vegas vacation add up to a weekend blast with the third annual King City Barbeque Showdown.
The King City Barbeque Showdown will be held Thursday, June 9, through Saturday, June 11, at the Rend Lake College MarketPlace and at Holiday Inn, both located on Potomac Boulevard in Mt. Vernon. Rend Lake College and the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce are organizing the event.
Some of the best grilling teams in the country will work their magic in a competition for their share of $8,000 in winnings. And this year, people don’t have to let the judges have all the fun.
In a new twist, people will be able to sample the competitors’ barbeque, which in past years had been available only to the judges. The People’s Choice Award competition will allow spectators to have a taste and cast their votes for the best-tasting tenderloin.
For $10, spectators can sample tenderloin prepared by all of the cookers and then cast a vote for their favorite. The People’s Choice Award will be open to the public from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, June 10. Trophies will be presented to first, second and third places.
“This is a chance for the general public to taste what the cooks prepare,” said Floyd Brookman, Marketing Director for 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.
Another chance to sample the cookers’ creations may come Saturday after the judging is completed. Many of the teams will be giving away their food.
Don’t forget to participate in the drawing for a four-day, three-night trip for two adults to Las Vegas. Just take a card from the information booth at the Showdown or from the MarketPlace and have it punched at each MarketPlace retail store. The drawing will be held at 5 p.m. Saturday; must be present to win.
After satisfying your appetite, have a look around at all the entertainment available. A variety of bands are lined up for all three evenings, a carnival will be in action and racing enthusiasts can feast their eyes on a NASCAR display featuring classic cars driven by Dale Earnhardt and Neil Bonnett.
Youngsters also can practice their barbequing skills with their own version of a Barbeque Showdown – the “Kids-Q.” Crafters will set up booths along a walkway between the barbequers and the music area and beer garden. Other activities will include a karaoke contest and a volleyball tournament. Spectators also can take advantage of a food court.
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. A sampling of last year’s teams includes 2 Fat Larrys, Piggin’n’Grinnin’, Ribs’n’Bibs and the Hoosier Hogs.
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.
From 5 p.m. to midnight each day of the King City Barbeque Showdown, the NASCAR display (sponsored by National Railway), craft fair (Mt. Vernon Register-News), family food court (St. Mary’s/Good Samaritan), carnival (GFI Digital) and the Budweiser beer garden will be open. The music stage is being sponsored by Physicians Filing Service/Healthcare Management Group.
Special events will include:
• Thursday, June 9 – Amanda Sheridan (country, sponsored by Crossroads Community Hospital), 6-7 p.m.; Crossroads Community Hospital Karaoke Contest, 7-10 p.m.; Amanda Sheridan, 10 p.m.-midnight.
• Friday, June 10 – Kemper CPA Group “Kids-Q”, 4-7 p.m.; People’s Bank People’s Choice Award, 5-8 p.m.; NAPA Night of Blues, with Pennsylvania Slim from 7-9 p.m. and Tawl Paul from 9 p.m.-midnight.
• Saturday, June 11 – Volleyball tournament, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; Mal Rodgers (sponsored by Mt. Vernon Register-News), 6-8 p.m.; Lance Miller (sponsored by Tyler Motors) 8-10 p.m.; Wild Horses (sponsored by Budweiser), 10 p.m.-midnight.
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 12 and under are admitted free. Entrants can save $1 on admission by bringing in a specially marked can of Diet 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.