(Photo by Tim Jaynes, Staff)
SIKESTON -- Think your barbecue is the best around? Or know someone that whips up some prize-winning barbecue dishes?
Those who want to see whether their smoked meats really do make the cut are encouraged to enter the Sikeston Area Chamber of Commerce's Redneck Barbecue. The event, sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society, is scheduled for April 11 and 12.
"If people have ever wanted to put their cooking to the test and have it judged by certified judges and put through a true scoring system, this is the way to do it," said Missy Marshall, executive director of the Sikeston Area Chamber of Commerce. "If you're testing the waters to see if you want to get into this kind of competition, this is the place to do it, because we're going to do everything in our power to make sure you are successful."
Those who barbecue hardcore -- as well as those who just grill as a hobby -- are all invited to take part in the event. "That's the beauty of KCBS," said Marshall.
Taking his hobby to competition is how Larry Floyd of Sikeston, who has participated in the Redneck Barbecue for six years and has won several plaques and ribbons, got involved.
"Anybody that likes to barbecue would enjoy coming out and participating in the Redneck Barbecue -- it's a blast," said Floyd. "The first time they do it, they'll get hooked on it."
Friday night activities include preparations for the teams, in addition to the "Wuzzat" contest, which is free for all teams. All sorts of cooked meats are acceptable for the competition.
But the real competition comes out on Saturday -- in addition to some entertainment for families to participate in.
"It is a family day," said Marshall, adding that, hopefully, the weather won't be cold and rainy like it was last year. "And it's not too expensive."
Beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday, there will be children's games -- some free and some with a nominal fee, as well as bands and other entertainment. At 1 p.m., there will be a chicken chucking contest, in which contestants toss a whole raw chicken soaked in oil. Throughout the day, visitors are invited to walk around and look at the different teams, as well as sample foods.
The barbecue is a family event for several teams, including the Floyds. Larry Floyd, his wife, Sally, and their two sons make up Bears Barbecue. "Anytime you can get with your family is a good thing," he said.
The secret to good barbecue, he said, is to "cook it slow and have a good sauce." That's something all of the cookers know, Floyd said.
"Basically, everybody cooks about the same, but they've all got their own secret ingredients," he said. "And you've just got to create your own way, then stick with it and try to improve it."
Marshall said entries surpass the numbers at this point for last year's event. "And we will have people calling at the very last minute to get in," she said.
With higher gas prices, Marshall said she thinks some cookers are re-
evaluating which barbecues they compete in -- so there may be a spike in local entries, as well as from neighboring states such as Tennessee, Arkansas, Illinois and Kentucky.
"We have some of the same teams, but we've also got some new faces, too," said Marshall. "They have heard about our competition and are coming in. I know that we were discussed at other competitions, and we were being complimented on our hospitality and our location."
Since moving the date and location of the event last year, Marshall and other staff have heard nothing but compliments -- both verbal and in written evaluations. Floyd agreed the rodeo grounds are a better location for the cookers.
But the barbecue doesn't only draw in people to cook -- a lot of people visit the region over the weekend to participate in those extra events. In fact, that's part of the reason why Floyd enjoys it so much -- besides that he loves to grill, no matter what the weather.
"It's just kind of a gathering for the community and it brings a lot of people into town," he said. "It's something to keep our town going and try to bring in new people."
> The Redneck BBQ, sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society, will be April 11 and 12 at the Sikeston Jaycee Rodeo grounds.
> Teams will compete in four different categories.
> Entertainment, children's games and other concessions will be available for the public throughout the day on Saturday. More information can be found at the SACC site.