Woodward, Okla. —
Ever wanted to judge a barbecue contest?
Your chance is coming on Friday, Aug. 9.
That's the opening night of the Grab, Root & Growl Barbecue Competition at Crystal Beach Park. The event concludes on Aug. 10.
On that first night, visitors to the contest will be able, for $10, to take part in helping determine the People's Choice award for the state championship contest sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society.
The inaugural competition is a fundraiser for Northwest Oklahoma CASA, an organization that puts volunteers with deprived children and in short helps them through the foster care system.
Dr. David Jones of Northwest Eye Associates is the president of the CASA board and came up with the barbecue contest idea after visiting with a patient from Shattuck who was taking part in the KCBS events.
"That got the ball rolling and probably back in October or September of last year, we had the first meeting, put our committee together and it started from there."
The organization through sponsors was able to put together a purse of $10,000, an impressive number for a start-up event.
"We kind of made the decision to make this something that is going to be special," Jones said. "To make it a yearly fundraiser we've got to have something that will entice the cookers to come. They are the ones that make this happen."
Jones said in a recent interview that some of verbal commitments included teams that have competed on the pitmasters show that can be seen on the Destination America channel.
Cookers have to be members of the Kansas City Barbecue Society and judges also have to be certified by the organization.
Of the $10,000 purse, $700 is put aside for the People's Choice awards, where folks coming to the contest get to be the judges for the evening.
The People's Choice is set for 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 9.
Jones said teams that register for the People's Choice will receive free pork ribs to be served to members of the public who have purchased a PC plate.
Visitors can go around to the various cookers and get a rib from them, then vote for the ribs they like the best.
Each person will receive a scoring ballot to be turned in and managed by the Grab Root and Growl staff.
Winners will be announced on Saturday at the awards ceremony.
Prizes for the People's Choice will be $400, $200 and $100, respectively.
On Saturday, the main competition begins with a judges meeting at 10 a.m. and cookers turn in their entries at noon. Judging will be in the Woodward County fairgrounds building.
Judging includes chicken at noon, pork ribs at 12:30 p.m., pork at 1 p.m., and brisket at 1:30 p.m.
The awards ceremony is 3:30 p.m. at the Crystal Beach Band Shell.
And some of those awards are impressive including a grand prize of $2,500 (larger that some purses at the smaller events). The reserve grand prize is $1,500 and in ach of the four categories 6 places are paid with winnings going from $400 to $25.