March 12, 2011 10:43:00 PM
Plans are well underway for Grilling on the River 2011. The Kansas City Barbeque Society-sanctioned competition and food fair set for April 8-9 at the Columbus Riverwalk has been proclaimed by Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour as the State of Mississippi Barbeque Championship.
A Friendly City spring favorite that benefits the Columbus-Lowndes Humane Society, this event focusing on food and family fun has also been designated as a stop on the Kingsford Points Chase for the first time. The winner of the contest will receive a $500 bonus check and earn points to vie for a $25,000 cash prize at the end of the national 2011 grilling season.
Organizers invite the public to attend at no charge. Activities already include Jump-N-G''s Inflatables, a carnival, face painting, Kids-que-ing, an open bike show with Goldwing Road Riders, Max Howell''s Sports Drive-Live, an open car show, live music and displays by the Columbus Police and Fire Departments and Lowndes County Sheriff''s Department. Area craft vendors will also be on site. Lawn chairs are encouraged, but no personal coolers, please. Gates will be open Friday, April 8, from 4 p.m.-11 p.m., and on Saturday, April 9, from 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
"A fan favorite is returning with the Warrior Energy Services'' People''s Choice tent," said event coordinator Harvey Myrick. "This was a smashing success last year, and in 2011 will be on April 9, from noon-2 p.m. For a $5 donation to the Humane Society, the general public will get to taste five 2-ounce samples of the barbecue cooked on site by the teams."
This year''s festival promises to flourish even more with the corporate sponsorship of Food Giant of Columbus and Royal Oak Charcoal of Roswell, Ga., Myrick said.
Separate Pro and Amateur divisions are offered, with a guaranteed purse of $8,000 for the Pro category and $2,000 for the Amateur category. (Pro purse award: $8,000 prize money based on 40 teams; $10,000 based on 50 teams. Amateur purse award: Must cook in both Chicken and Ribs to be eligible for champion $2,000 total prize money.)
Pro teams will compete in four categories : Chicken, Ribs (pork), Pork (shoulder or butt) and Beef Brisket.
Amateur teams will compete in two categories: Chicken and Rib (pork). All amateur teams will be provided with meat and bags of charcoal by the generous donation of Food Giant and Royal Oak. Both categories will be blind-judged. Judging will take place from noon to 2 p.m. April 9, with awards at 4 p.m.
An additional alternate category this year is the Mississippi Products Contest--Anything Butt, sponsored by Superior Catfish Products and the Mississippi Sweet Potato Council. Entry fee for the Superior Farm-Raised catfish category is $10 (eight 3-5 ounce fillets provided). Entry fee for the sweet potato category is $10, with sweet potatoes provided.
Entry fee for Pro teams is $200 before April 1 and $250 after. For Amateur teams, entry fee is $125 before April 1 and $150 after. Electricity and water will be available at no charge. Port-a-Johns will be available for $100.00 for the weekend
To sponsor or enter
Information about the contest, sponsorship opportunities and entry forms are available at grillingontheriver.8m.net.
To enter as a team, or for more details, contact Myrick at 662-328-6859 or e-mail [email protected]
Sponsors include the Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau, Rubens Fish and Steak House, Triangle Federal Credit Union, Mitchell Distributing Co. (Budweiser), Coca-Cola, BancorpSouth, Warrior Energy Services Corp., Cumulus Broadcasting (Fox 99.9), WCBI-TV, The Columbus Packet, ProGraphics, WTVA-TV-Tupelo, Superior Catfish Products and the Mississippi Sweet Potato Council.