|Bill Jones, contest organizer and OBR |
lead for Virginia, serves Brunswick
stew on Friday to early arrivals.
OBR is a group of volunteers who respond to disasters throughout the United States and feed victims and first responders. All net proceeds of the event are donated to OBR, and a voluntary collection of funds for OBR is also held. Last year, in its inaugural event, the contest contributed $6,500 to OBR.
In addition to the meats the teams cook for the contest, each competing team cooks a pork butt that is provided to the Team Thanksgiving Food Bank, based in Churchview, Va. After the contest was held in March last year, 500 pounds of cooked meat were donated to the food bank that it then gave to families in need through September 2017 without its having to buy any additional meat. The contest also held a voluntary collection of dry and canned goods, and cooking teams and judges willingly contributed.
|The recreation center at Bethpage was the site of judging activities.|
Although the purpose of the cookoff is to “give back,” the focus of each cooking team is on preparing winning barbecue. In the contest’s second year of being sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society, 75 teams competed for a total of $11,000 in prize money. Held at the Bethpage Camp-Resort on the shores of the Rappahannock River, the contest has ample room for the cooking teams. Because so many teams were competing, 11 tables of judges were need to evaluate all the entries. It’s one of the largest cookoffs that I’ve attended.
|Judges relax inside the recreation center before the first entries arrive.|
Urbanna, a historic colonial port town, brags that it has more boats than people and that it is the home of Virginia’s Oyster Festival each November. It has gained also a reputation as the site in March where barbecue cooks and judges demonstrate their generosity and community spirit.
|Awards await the winning teams.|
BBQ Gives Back is fittingly named. Everyone enjoys participating in an event with such a noteworthy purpose. Being able to judge great barbecue is also a benefit for the judges.
|Bethpage Camp-Resort is popular with both cooking teams and judges.|