By Kelly Terpstra, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bragging rights will be on the line Saturday as the Fourth Annual Charles City BBQ Challenge pits teams against one another vying for the top prize.
Barbecue fans will take delight as up to as many as 20 teams may participate in what can only be described as a meat lover’s dream come true.
All the action takes place from 4 to 7 p.m. right along the riverfront behind City Hall and adjacent to Hot Shots at 700 Riverside Drive. Amateur and professional smoking teams will set up early Saturday morning to cook their St. Louis-style ribs. Each barbecue team is required to cook up to 12 racks of ribs, with some able to do even more.
“We’ve had people with trash can smokers before. We’ve had big professional food trucks,” said Charles City Community Development Director Mark Wicks. “We’ve got a nice mix.”
All kinds of food, treats and beverages will be available for purchase. An ice cream truck will be in the parking lot to serve up sweet confections. There will also be a beer garden, with non-alcoholic beverages also being served. Hot Shots will be open and will serve food inside.
A limited number of VIP tickets are on sale for $30 each. That entitles VIP’s to one rib from each of the contestants. Charles City Area Chamber of Commerce members receive a discounted price of $25.
“When you’re talking 15 to 20 different barbecue teams, that’s a lot of ribs,” said Wicks. “A lot of the times you’ll see a couple that will share.”
A la carte tickets will also be on sale for $5. That gets the hungry rib lover three ribs from their choice of vendors. There will be a tent set up for walk-ins to buy tickets as long as ribs are available. Multiple a la carte tickets may be purchased.
Judging begins at 4 p.m. with Kansas City Barbeque Society rules. VIP ticket holders will be able to sample the goods at 4:30 p.m. People that purchase a VIP ticket can also vote for the People’s Choice Winner. At 5:15 p.m. attendees who bought an a la carte ticket can sample the ribs of their choice.
First, second and third-place finishers win trophies, cash and prizes, with a total of $1,200 to be awarded. Fourth-place finishers receive free entry into next year’s competition. The People’s Choice winner also receives a cash prize and trophy.
Only so many VIP tickets are available, so it’s best to purchase those as soon as possible.
“We’ve sold out every year,” said Wicks.