By Karla Pomeroy
Editor 

It's hat trick for local BBQ event

WORLAND - For seven years the Rocky Mountain BBQ Association has awarded an Event Organizer's Challenge and for three of those seven years the Pepsi Wyoming State BBQ Championship and Bluegrass Festival has won that honor, including this year. BBQ Championship Committee Chairman Dave Paxton reported late last week that he attended a banquet in Denver, Colorado, to receive the award from the Rocky Mountain BBQ Association.

 

November 14, 2017

Karla Pomeroy

Pepsi Wyoming State BBQ Championship and Bluegrass Festival committee members posing with their third Event Organizer's Challenge award are (l-r): Lori Paulsen, Heidi Rutledge, Val Busch, Dave Paxton, Terry Cook and Dan Cook.

WORLAND - For seven years the Rocky Mountain BBQ Association has awarded an Event Organizer's Challenge and for three of those seven years the Pepsi Wyoming State BBQ Championship and Bluegrass Festival has won that honor, including this year.

BBQ Championship Committee Chairman Dave Paxton reported late last week that he attended a banquet in Denver, Colorado, to receive the award from the Rocky Mountain BBQ Association.

Paxton said, "This is a great reward for us. It takes a lot of work and a whole year's worth of planning from start to finish. It's nice to have that recognition."

According to a press release from the Association, "Congratulations to organizer Dave Paxton and his event team who put on another great event this year! Amazingly, this is Worland's third award since the challenge was started back in 2011. Until his passing in 2016, Dale Wagner organized the Worland event and clearly set the standard for competition excellence."

Paxton and his committee include Lori Paulsen, Heidi Rutledge, Val Busch, Terry Cook, Dan Cook, Dan Mattis, Linda Keyes, Lynn Murdoch, Larry Hill, Steve Brown, Gary Klispie, Frank DeCroo and Randy Harry.

According to the release, The Rocky Mountain BBQ Association (RMBBQA, http://www.rmbbqa.org ) annually sanctions some 20 professional Kansas City BBQ Society (KCBS http://www.kcbs.us ) BBQ competitions in seven states throughout the Rockies and western plains from Montana in the north to New Mexico in the south. In 2011, RMBBQA initiated the Event Organizer's Challenge (EOC) to motivate and recognize each year's best-organized competition.


Judges and cook teams provide constructive feedback, suggestions and rating scores to organizers after each event. At the end of each competition season, the scores are tabulated and the top organizer is announced at the annual RMBBQA banquet with the winning event memorialized on a distinctive travelling trophy.

Steve Sandridge, certified BBQ judge and vice president of the RMBBQA, said, "I've judged almost all of the RMBBQA events and have judged Worland three times. I've judged over 100 events in 12 states and can easily say that Worland is always a first-class event. With food, bluegrass music and barbecue, how could things get any better?  Well, this year was extra special with the solar eclipse! Anytime a judge asks me for recommendations where to judge pro barbecue, I always include Worland as a top-choice. Besides, the pie and cobbler from St Alban's Church is terrific!"

For Paxton, he believes the venue is one of the biggest advantages the Worland barbecue event has over others. "At the fairgrounds we have a nice shaded area and the competitors like that," he said, noting some competitions are in parking lots or streets.

Paxton, however, credits his volunteer committee and their hard work as the biggest factor for three wins in seven years. He said they make sure that all the information that visitors, competitors and judges is readily available and that things move smoothly.

He said they ensure that parking for the competitors is not an issue and make sure there is ease for the competitors to come and go.

Having the area for the food to be delivered to be judged nearby is another advantage, with judging taking place inside the main fairgrounds facility.

This year was the 13th Pepsi Wyoming State BBQ Championship and Bluegrass Festival that started in 2004. Planning for the 2018 event has already begun with the committee meeting every month on the second Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Worland Community Center. Paxton said anyone wanting to find out more about the committee or willing to volunteer can come to the next meeting in December.

He noted some of the volunteers who handle a variety of duties would like to help in other areas so they could use help with grant writing and treasury duties.

The 2018 Pepsi Wyoming State BBQ Championship and Bluegrass Festival will be Aug. 17-18 with the brewfest on Aug. 16. This year was the first year they moved the brewfest to right before the BBQ Championship and they received a lot of positive feedback.

He said the competition and schedule will remain the same with events including the 5k run, the Saturday breakfast, car show and kids barbecue competition.

The only thing not set is the three main bluegrass groups, Paxton said.

Previous Challenge winners:

2016 Alamosa, CO

2015 Worland, WY

2014 Gothenburg, NE

2013 Worland, WY

2012 Craig, CO

2011 Scott City, KS

 
 

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