Field full for barbecue contest
Jay Ellis will have some additional competition next month when he defends his grand champion title in Lansing's Brew, Blues & Bar-B-Q Cook-Off.
The city-sponsored barbecue contest, which last year drew eight teams, will have a full field of 30 teams this year, said Shanae Randolph, the city's director of economic development/Convention and Visitor's Bureau.
"We just filled up so quickly," Randolph said. "We're excited."
The contest, in its second year, will be Friday and Saturday, May 5 and 6, on the grounds of the Towne Center complex.
Contestants will compete in four categories: pork ribs, pork shoulder or butt, beef brisket and chicken. Cash prizes will be awarded for first through fifth place in each category, with ribbons awarded to those finishing in sixth through 10th place. In addition, judges will name an overall Grand Champion and Reserve Grand Champion for the contest.
A year ago, at the inaugural Brew, Blues & Bar-B-Q, Ellis and his Jay Birds BBQ Crew were awarded first place in the brisket category and third place in pork butt. Combined with its scores in the chicken and rib categories, the team earned enough points to be crowned grand champion of the competition.
Ellis, of Lawrence, will be back. This year, he'll face contestants from all over the area.
Lorraine Gluch, assistant in the economic development/ Convention and Visitor's Bureau office, said she had received entries from all over the area, including Kansas City, Shawnee, Platte City and Lawrence, in addition to those from Lansing and Leavenworth.
This year's contest is being sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society, which is providing the judges.
Prizes will be awarded in a ceremony slated for 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
In addition to the cooks, the city is hoping to attract visitors to the Towne Center site during the two-day event.
On both days of the contest, blues bands will be performing free concerts. ScottyBoy Daniel will play from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, May 5, while Lonesome Hank and the Heartaches will play from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 6. There will be a beer tent set up on the site.
Children's activities are slated throughout the day Saturday, and there will be cooking demonstrations at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday by Guy Simpson, the "KC Rib Doctor."
The contest also will have a "Taster's Choice" feature in which members of the public can pay $5 for the opportunity to sample the various barbecue fare. Those participating can vote for a People's Choice award.
Several businesses are co-sponsoring the event, including First National Bank of Leavenworth, which is the VIP Sponsor.
All proceeds from the contest will go to helping build the future Kansas Regional Prisons Museum.