March 7, 2009
The committee organizing Grilling On The River ''09 is putting the finishing touches on the annual Magnolia State Barbeque Championship and Food Fair to be held Friday and Saturday, March 20-21, along the Columbus Riverwalk at Ruben''s Fish and Steak House. The Kansas City Barbeque Society-sanctioned event will benefit the Columbus-Lowndes Humane Society.
Organizers invite the public to attend the championship, which returns this year to its original location. No gate admission will be charged. For contest participants, separate pro and amateur divisions are offered, with a guaranteed purse of $9,000 in the pro division and $1,000 in the amateur division.
By proclamation from Gov. Haley Barbour, the 2009 event will be listed as the official State of Mississippi Barbeque Championship. In 2008, the cooking contest hosted 47 pro teams and four amateur teams, from six states.
In addition to the contest, other Columbus and Golden Triangle food vendors will be on site to offer their food wares, and additional entertainment will be offered. Columbus'' favorite character, "Mother Goose," will be on hand, along with the Christian Motorcyclist Association, Goldwing Road Riders Association, Jump-n-G''s, an oversized sandbox, a family and kids'' movie area, and live music Friday night by another Columbus favorite, the Catdaddys. The public is encouraged to bring lawn chairs, but please, no pets or personal coolers.
Gates will open March 20, from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. and March 21, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
This year, Grilling on the River enjoys the corporate sponsorship of Food Giant, of Columbus, and Royal Oak Charcoal, of Roswell, Ga. Thanks to their donations, all amateur teams -- which will compete in two categories: Chicken and Ribs (pork) -- will be provided with eight chicken thighs, two racks of baby back pork ribs and two bags of charcoal.
Pro teams will compete in four categories: Chicken, Ribs (pork), Pork (shoulder or butt) and Beef Brisket. Both pro and amateur categories will be "blind judged."
The entry fee for pro teams is $225 and, for amateur teams, $150. Electricity and water will be available at no charge. Porta Johns are available for $100 for the weekend. Entry forms and information are available at www.grillingontheriver.8m.net. Amateur team entry forms may be picked up at Food Giant.
Corporate/Industrial teams and Women Only teams will be new categories for judging in this year''s competition. Judging will take place March 21 from noon to 2 p.m., with awards presented at 4 p.m.
To enter as a team, judge, or for more information about sponsorship opportunities or the contest, contact Harvey Myrick, event coordinator, at 662-328-6850 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sponsors for the event include Columbus Convention and Visitor''s Bureau, Triangle Federal Credit Union, The CPI Group Inc., Mitchell Distributing Co., BancorpSouth, Food Giant, Royal Oak Charcoal, CECO Building Systems, Cumulus Broadcasting, WCBI-TV, The Columbus Packet, The T-Shirt Connection and Kwik-Kopy.