With names such as Awesome Racks Cooking Crew, Smokin' Butts BBQ, 2B Smokin', All Sauced Up BBQ, Cutthroat Que, Double Sauced, and more, grill masters from Chillicothe as well as states throughout the Midwest arrived at Simpson Park Friday evening for Chillin' and Grillin', a Kansas City Barbeque Society-sanctioned competition.

With names such as Awesome Racks Cooking Crew, Smokin’ Butts BBQ, 2B Smokin’, All Sauced Up BBQ, Cutthroat Que, Double Sauced, and more, grill masters from Chillicothe as well as states throughout the Midwest arrived at Simpson Park Friday evening for Chillin’ and Grillin’, a Kansas City Barbeque Society-sanctioned competition. Thirty teams entered in the experienced division and six in the amateur “Backyard” competition. See Photo Gallery

The Kansas City Barbeque Society is the nation’s leading barbecue-sanctioning body. This was the first year for Chillicothe to host a barbecue contest of this caliber. Carl McBee, one of the coordinators of the local event, has entered barbecue competitions before and has served as a KCBS judge. He thought Chillicothe would be a great venue for a barbecue competition. “Originally, we hoped to get maybe 15 teams and, hopefully, break even the first year and give the people of the Chillicothe area something new and exciting to come out to and experience,” McBee said. This weekend’s event, however, far exceeded that goal. “We doubled our expectations and then some on the team count and are going to be able to donate thousands to the North Missouri Center for Youth and Families,” McBee said. NMCYF was the event’s chosen charity. Event organizers were well-pleased with the public turnout as well for both Friday night and Saturday. There was live music both days and plenty of food from vendors on site. McBee said he was happy with the number of entries and the entrants, themselves. “As time went on we started to get some big names in the barbecue world entering the competition which really surprised us,” McBee said. He noted that feedback from the competitors was “very positive.” “We all asked several times for feedback from the teams and other than a few minor issues all of the teams where very happy as well as the public,” McBee said. “It was so positive that teams were asking when they could sign up for next year.” There were several local and area teams competing Saturday. Steve Mason (All Sauced Up BBQ Team), of Chillicothe, and his team partner, Greg Vornholt, entered in the experienced competition. The team finished about right in the middle overall on the professional side, above some very seasoned pros, McBee said. Clint Boon (Cutthroat Que), of Chillicothe, entered in both the experienced side and the Backyard competition. He won grand champion honors in the Backyard contest. Boon has been involved in barbecuing/smoking for about 10 years and has competed in local contests. This weekend’s competition was unlike the others. “There were a lot more people and it is highly competitive,” Boon said of this weekend’s contest. Danny Dowell of Double Sauced was close behind. Other area entrants were Andy Madden (Smoked Iguana BBQ and Sauce Company), of Trenton, and Shane Renshaw (Smoke Jockeys), of Brookfield. Although it’s too early to sign up at this time, plans are being made for another event next year. “We would like to take what we learned this year and add some additional features such as a public judging contest on Friday night as well as more food vendors selling food,” he said. Just as there were two sides to the competition, there were two groups of judges. The professional entries were judged by certified judges from around the Midwest. The backyard competition was judged by local guest judges. The event also included free cooking classes provided to the public by Chris Marks, an eight-time world champion of the American Royal Cookoff. Teams competing entered four categories: ribs, brisket, pork butt and chicken. Top prize in the KCBS event was $5,000. The top prize for the backyard contest was $750. Smoke This BBQ walked away with the top honors in the KCBS event. Competitors came from Minnesota, Oklahoma, Iowa, Kansas, Illinois and Missouri. “A lot of these guys do this every weekend,” said Phil Morrow, of AM and PM Smokers, Kansas City. Morrow served as a KCBS representative this weekend. He has been involved with the KCBS for more than 30 years and said that many teams compete for the camaraderie as well as the opportunity to gain high marks. “The knowledge that is shared between teams is absolutely as prevalent as it always was,” Morrow said. “These guys for 22 hours or 24 hours can come and not worry about a job... we very humbled by those who came before us.” Awards were presented around 4 p.m. and just prior to the start of the Freedom Fest and Fireworks in the park that evening. McBee also helped coordinate the Freedom Fest and expressed appreciation to those who helped make both events possible. “These events were made possible through the generosity of local businesses and the public who helped financially as well as with the several volunteers who never receive the recognition they are due,” he said.