Bar-B-Que Contest at Reliant Park

You know the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is just around the corner when you smell Bar-B-Que in the air. The World's Championship Bar-B-Que Contest begins Thursday at Reliant Park. Houston Public Radio's Rod Rice reports.

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The Bar-B-Que contest began 33-years ago with 25 entrants--this year there are 355. David Jackson, a division chairman for the event, says people work long and hard to get here--all year in fact.

"They participate in other bar-b-que cook-offs just to be able to qualify to come to ours, many of them. The Metro Go Texan teams have to win their county in order to come to our cook-off. There's many other independent ones there that participate in independent bar-b que cook-offs."

Jackson says while the cook-off has grown over the years the main goal is still the same--raising money for the Youth Education Fund.

"And so there's entry fees. Admission into the contest itself goes to the fund. The carnival, which is a world class carnival, proceeds from the carnival go to the fund. Beverages that we sell through out the event, the proceeds go to the fund. We raised about $800,000 ourselves, the bar-b-que cook-off last year."

The Bar-B-Que Contest events begin Thursday at 5 p.m., Friday at noon and Saturday morning at 9 a.m. and they closes each night at 11 p.m.

"For their entry fee they get to walk around the compound and see the colorful booths and pits of all different shapes and sizes. We have what we call "The Garden" which is in the center of the campus. It's a gathering place, a street dance type atmosphere with live music Thursday, Friday and Saturday. We also have access to the world class carnival. And everybody also gets a plate of bar-b-que."

And while you have fun the 355 bar-b-quers are taking the event very seriously.

"It's very competitive, they're competing for four different categories of meat, chicken, ribs, pork ribs and brisket and then you have an overall grand champion. There are a number of other categories they're participating in like most colorful booth and cleanest area, most recycling and things like that. All the things they participate in, it's a very serious event for them."

For more on the World's Championship Bar-B-Que Contest and The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, you'll find a link at

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