The KCBS ensures a level and fair playing ground for grilling. We give teams the best shot of a fair evaluation of their entry.

By Anne Eickstadt


The Boone County Fairgrounds will the location for deliciousness over the June 25 to 27 Heritage Days. It is the host for the Steak Cook-Off Competition on Friday, and on Saturday, grill masters fire up their grills for chicken, pork ribs, pork, brisket.

“We tried to figure out what we could do for Heritage Days that was new and different,” said Danny Anderson, Public Works superintendent. “Mayor Mike Chamberlain thought of a barbeque contest and the first year we had 30 competitors.”

“It’s amazing,” said former Mayor Mike Chamberlain of the cook-off events. “Every year it gets bigger. They love the fairgrounds. They love to come to Boone County.”

The Steak Cook-Off Association sanctions the Friday night Steak Cook-Off and the Kansas City Barbeque Society sanctions the Saturday and Sunday grilling. These associations ensure standardized rules and judging, and competitors know they will have a fair competition.

The Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS) has been around for 30 years. In 1985, Carolyn (executive vice president of Wicker Barbeque Products) and Gary Wells were enjoying some evening time with Rick Welch. Members of their grill teams kept calling to find out when the next competition would be only to learn that it wasn’t for months yet.

The friends decided that there weren’t enough grilling contests and they should form a club and have some. Thus KCBS was born. They sent out a newsletter and 20 people joined. At their first Spring Training event, 22 teams entered. The last grilling competition in the area for the year was in October. The next one scheduled was in the spring. So, they scheduled a New Year’s Party grill out for January to alleviate their barbeque withdrawal. More than 100 people showed up with their buddies.

They began receiving calls from organizations wanting to start barbeque competitions. The club was formalized and a committee selected to set standard rules and regulations for new contests. A computer savvy friend wrote a program to tabulate scores and KCBS was ready to sanction competitions.

“Our job here is to make sure everyone follows the rules for a level and fair playing ground,” said Tony Moore of KCBS. “We give teams the best shot of a fair evaluation of their entry. We have processes from giving boxes to teams and numbering the boxes for competitors and judges, to making sure the winners are read off correctly. We have a double blind system so competitors cannot signal a judge.”

The organization continued to grow and by 1993 over 1400 people were members. “KCBS holds competitions in 48 states and is really big in Europe,” Charlie Brinza, KCBS representative. “Around the world, grillers want to cook American style BBQ. Even in Mexico or Serbia, it’s like eating here. The organization is growing fast.

“The first place winner in each competition is a Grand Champion and automatically get a free entry for the Jack Daniels (World Championship) Invitational in September. The winner will be going to that competition.”

“Winning teams can make good money.”

At the Boone County Fairgrounds, Saturday’s competition for chicken, pork ribs, pork, brisket, and hamburger will be the place to be for adults. On Sunday, it will be the children’s turn to fire up the grills and impress the judges. The Kids Que Teams will receive a small grill (with hot charcoal) and one pound of ground beef for the seven -11-year-old age group and one pork loin for the 12 – 15-year-old age group. No other meats are allowed.

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