A professional barbecue competition is coming to Crawford County in October, hosted by a local Alma business.
A to Z stores in Alma will host a Kansas City Barbeque Society sanctioned barbecue competition Oct. 5, in conjunction with a family fun event and the kickoff of a biggest buck deer hunting competition.
Tonia Dray, manager for A to Z, came up with the Biggest Buck and Best Rack competition after visiting a professional barbecue competition during a trip to Reno, Nev.
More than 3,000 people attended the competition, she said, and she noticed that many of the vendors there and at local festivals sell much of the same stuff that A to Z has in its stores.
Dray searched for the nearest professional barbecue circuit, and she - along with several of her staff - have began working with KCBS to organize the event.
While discussing the event at the Alma Area Chamber of Commerce meeting Tuesday, Dray said her main purpose in hosting the event is to not only bring customers to the store, but to generate more attention and traffic to Alma and Crawford County.
"We don’t want this to be successful just for A to Z; we want this to be successful for everyone," Dray said. "Everybody should be able to get a piece of the pie."
As with most KCBS sanctioned events, professional pitmasters will sign up to win cash and prizes for serving up the best grilled or smoked pork, beef and chicken.
A to Z organizers are offering more than $7,000 in total cash and prize money for the competitors that place in their category.
Since this is their first year to host the event, the entry fee is one of the lowest at $150 per grill team. Still, Trent and Dray said the A to Z property can accommodate as many teams as want to sign up.
A Biggest Buck competition being held by A to Z also will kick off the day of the event and continue through Dec. 31. The hunter who bring in the largest buck will win a $500 shopping spree at the six A To Z stores.
Since A to Z, located at 3625 North U.S. 71, has property on both sides of highway, the barbecue competition will be held on the east side.
Much of the competition will only be accessible to those participating in the event, said Brad Trent with A to Z. Trent is helping to organize the event.
On the west side of the road in front of A To Z Sporting Goods will be the food and entertainment area, which will be open to the public.
"We want it to be family oriented," Trent said during the Chamber meeting. "We want it to be fun for the whole family."
A main stage will have music throughout the day, with one "big-name" entertainer being featured after the competition winners are awarded, Trent said. The feature musician has not yet been decided.
Meat prepared by the professionals and basic sides will be served up in the dining area, while another area will be set up with activities for kids, he said.
"Bringing in the concert and kid events across the street, that’s just an added bonus for the community," Trent said.
Event organizers are offering another way for the community to get involved, as well.
Non-profit groups will be able to set a booth at the event free of charge, Trent said. The non-profits will be able to sell whatever they like, though Dray suggested food items such as side dishes or desserts.
"We get plenty of people asking for donations," Dray said during the Chamber meeting. "This is what I want to donate."
She later added that this was a chance for non-profits "to make more than I can donate."
Since A to Z will be making most of their money for the event from entry fees, costs for a family to attend the event and eat will be very affordable, Trent said.
Event organizers hope to work with local businesses on possibly providing discounts and other incentives to people who plan to attend the event, Trent said.
They also plan to work with local and state police on crowd control and safety.
For more information, contact Trent at (479) 632-2656 or firstname.lastname@example.org.