Telluride BBQ Festival

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New festival brings the flavor

Telluride Barbecue Festival set for Sept. 22-23

By Collin McRann
Staff Reporter
Published: Thursday, August 23, 2012 6:09 AM CDT
Anyone who appreciates good barbecue will be in luck this September when the new Telluride Pig & Whiskey BBQ Festival kicks off its first year.The festival will bring 15 professional barbecue teams from across the country to the Telluride Conference Center in Mountain Village on Sept. 22-23. Teams will compete in a Kansas City Barbecue Society sanctioned competition; however, organizers have also planned an amateur competition — open to the public.

Cadence Hospitality, which manages the Conference Center, is putting the event on as a way to extend the summer season past the Telluride Blues & Brews Festival and bring new interests to the area.

“The KCBS sponsorship will bring an entire network of professional barbecue teams [to the festival] who go around the country and enter into theses contests year-round — mainly in the summer,” said Tony Kalyk of Cadence Hospitality, who is the facilities director of the Conference Center. “It’s pretty much a lifestyle for a lot of folks in the summer.”

Teams will fire up their grills Saturday morning, and judging starts Sunday at noon. Admission is free, and food and drinks will be on sale as the completion heats up. Alcohol will also be allowed on the Heritage Plaza during the festival — the Town of Mountain Village last week granted the Conference Center a special liquor license extension. The festival will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Not only will competitors be in pursuit of trophies, cash prizes and bragging rights, but a coveted ticket will be up for grabs to the compete in the American Royal Barbecue Festival in Kansas City in October.

The professional categories are beef brisket, chicken, pork ribs and pork.

“They pretty much set up and cook for 24 hours straight,” Kalyk said. “It’s a very formal affair with a presentation and a whole host of rules that you need to submit to have your product judged. It’s pretty serious for these folks.”

With $8,000 in prize money offered, the competition will certainly feature some unprecedented barbecue options for the area. Twenty KCBS judges will be on hand to determine the winners and prizes will be divvied out in the conference center Sunday.

As for the amateur competition, Kalyk said he has seen a lot of interest from locals about getting their barbecue judged by professionals. Due to time constraints, amateur teams will have only two categories, ribs and chicken, to show off. Prizes include first and second place plaques, but Kalyk said he is trying to get together some cash prizes.

The deadline to enter the amateur competition is Sept. 5, and an entry fee of $75 per category is set. Participants can enter one or both categories.

Next year Kalyk said he plans to add more categories to the amateur competition along with classes on how to become a certified KCBS judge.

Aside from food and drinks, the festivities will also include a mechanical bull, and barbecue legend Johnny Trigg is set to make an appearance.