14 March 2012
Fluvanna foodies will feast on barbecue this summer thanks to local entrepreneur John Atkins.
Atkins himself has travelled the country and participated in Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS) competitions for the last ten years, and won over 100 trophies. Atkins, a Scottsville native, runs Pigs on the Run competition barbecue team and owns the catering company Barbecue Connection.
“It’s been a dream of mine to bring a Kansas City Barbecue Society national championship here,” said Atkins.
For years he’s been trying to get a KCBS competition in Fluvanna, but couldn’t find a large enough sponsor to agree to host it – until now. With the organizational help and backing of the Fluvanna Chamber of Commerce, the event will be called “BBQ, Bands & Brews” and will be held at Pleasant Grove on June 23.
“The Chamber wanted to do something at Pleasant Grove in the summer with live music and beer, of course that was contingent on the Board of Supervisors approving alcohol use on county property, which they did,” said Scott Valentine, of the Fluvanna Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. “We’re hoping to make this an annual event.”
Typically, Kansas City style barbecue is slow cooked over a variety of woods and then covered with a thick tomato and molasses based sauce. According to its website, KCBS is the world’s largest organization of barbecue and grilling enthusiasts, with over 14,000 members worldwide. The KCBS has gained more public attention since the success of the TLC show Pitmasters, which follows several KCBS teams around the country as they compete in events like that which will be hosted in Fluvanna this summer.
“At the actual event will be having approximately 30 national teams,” said Valentine. “They come in with their mobile homes and smokers. Some come in with big rigs, some have much more modest set ups.”
The Fluvanna Chamber of Commerce will need over 50 judges to assess the quality of barbecue for both the main KCBS competition and the local backyard competition, which will still be judged by KCBS standards.
“We’d like to attract some local people to be judges,” said Valentine. “We’ve talked to certified judges from Richmond and eastern shore of Maryland, but we also want to make this a community event. We’re also doing a backyard barbecue division where we hope to get around 15 local barbecuers. ”
In order to provide local judges that will assess barbecue on Kansas City Barbecue Society standards, the Fluvanna Chamber of Commerce will be holding a judges certification class on March 17.
“Kansas City Barbecue Society representatives will be coming up from North Carolina to run the class,” said Valentine. The class is free, four hours long and instructs judges on the criteria for judging.
“Our criteria for judging is appearance, tenderness and taste,” said Carolyn Wells, executive director of the Kansas City Barbecue Society. “The scoring system is from nine – excellent – to two – inedible.”
In addition to the barbecue portion of the event, the Chamber hopes to attract 70 local vendors and 5,000 attendees. Two stages will feature bands and 20 different micro brews from Blue Mountain Brewery to Belgium will be available for tasting. Thistlegate, Fluvanna’s only vineyard, will also be in attendance with wine for tasting.
For the $10 adult entrance fee, participants get a commemorative beer stein.
Ten percent of the proceeds will be donated to the Fluvanna County Food Bank. The other 90 percent will go back to the Chamber’s normal fund to cover expenses – scholarships, a full-time staff member, and promotion of Fluvanna businesses.
“We know that the economic impact of events we sanction is significant,” said Wells, of KCBS.
For more information visit http://www.fluvannachamber.org