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Fire up the grills, GOTR returns April 9-10


Jan Swoope



The tempting aroma of slow-cooked barbecue will soon waft up and down the Riverwalk in historic downtown Columbus. Grilling on the River, the 2010 Kansas City Barbeque Society Magnolia State Barbeque Championship and Food Fair, will draw approximately 50 teams from seven states to the area near Ruben''s Fish and Steak House April 9-10. 


When teams rev up their cookers, the Columbus-Lowndes Humane Society will be the beneficiary. The community will reap benefits, too, with live music, family activities and plenty of good food.  


This year, Grilling on the River is also a special event of the city''s 70th annual Spring Pilgrimage, advertised in the official Pilrimage brochure, along with other activities visitors can take advantage of while in the Golden Triangle. 


"We really appreciate the people at the Convention and Visitors Bureau and with the Columbus Pilgrimage for help in cross-promoting the contest," said Harvey Myrick, GOTR organizer. "We''re sending out Pilgrimage information to all our teams and encouraging them to come early or stay after the competition to tour some of our beautiful homes." 




When to go 


Gates will be open from 4 p.m.-11 p.m. Friday, April 9, and from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, April 10. 


There is no gate admission, but donations to the Columbus-Lowndes Humane Society are encouraged. The shelter will bring pets suitable for adoption to the contest grounds April 10. 




Sports Drive and more 


On April 9, from 4-6 p.m., "Sports Drive" with Max Howell is slated to broadcast live from the competition. The Landstar "No-Zone" 18-wheeler will also be on hand.  


A new addition to the contest this year is the "Anything Butt" category.  


"We''ll be promoting Mississippi products, with farm-raised catfish provided for the teams by Superior Catfish out of Macon and Vardaman sweet potatoes provided by the Mississippi Sweet Potato Council," Myrick explained. Teams can cook the products any way they wish. The judges'' top picks will be named Grilling on the River Catfish King and Sweet Potato King, he added. 




Good eats 


The Food Giant People''s Choice Contest Saturday from noon to 2 p.m. invites, "You be the judge." Taste team''s competition barbecue and decide who takes home the People''s Choice trophy. 


Other food vendors will be on hand with burgers, hot dogs, Philly cheese steak, Polish sausage, funnel cakes and more. Craft vendors will have booths, too. A bike show sponsored by the Goldwing Road Riders is open from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. April 10, as well as an open car show. 


Children will enjoy visits from Mother Goose, face painting, Jump-N-G''s Inflatables and other activities. 




Nine kids, nine months 


Grilling on the River is also making plans to welcome Ron Werstler on his mission to travel 49 states to "save nine kids in nine months." The goal is to raise nine million dollars to fund nine double lung transplants for children with cystic fibrosis. 


"We need nine million caring people to give just $9," Werstler has stated. "We want to spread the message that $9 can save a life." 


To learn more about the campaign, go to 




Live entertainment 


For live music, bring lawn chairs or blankets out to hear Fast Scarlett from 8-11 p.m. April 9 and Tim "Mookie" Wilson from 2-4 p.m. Saturday. The awards presentation begins at 4 p.m. Saturday. 


"One hundred percent of the donations will be presented on stage to the Humane Society by Goldwing Road Riders Saturday during the awards," Myrick stated. 


The event chair praised those helping with the two-day contest, sponsored in part by the Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau. 


"I''ve got a lot of people who are hard workers, who want to promote Columbus and help the Humane Society," he said. "And we certainly appreciate the sponsors of Grilling on the River and all the nice people who donated merchandise and in-kind services to make this event the success it is.". 


Attendees are asked to enter by the Moore''s Creek Road entrance and to leave all personal coolers at home. For more information, visit, or contact Myrick at [email protected], or 662-328-6850.


Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.


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