National Western Stock Show

You can teach an old dogie new tricks: The 109th annual National Western Stock Show kicks off today with its first-ever barbecue competition, the National Western BBQ Throwdown. It’s a Kansas City Barbeque Society-sanctioned event at which forty teams comprising the world’s elite barbecue contestants — the majority of them from Colorado, according to the NWSS’s Morgan Topolnicki — will compete in four barbecue categories: chicken, pork, ribs and brisket. First-, second- and third-place prizes will be handed out in each category; a barbecue grand champion (and a reserve) will also be crowned, winning automatic admission to the 2015 American Royal World Series of Barbecue, held in Kansas City in October.

About half of the fifty judges rating the Throwdown barbecue will be from Colorado; sadly, Adrian Miller, our state’s barbecue/soul-food expert and a James Beard Award-winning author, won’t be among them, because he has a prior engagement. But you can purchase sampling tickets to judge some of the ’cue competitors yourself, Topolnicki says, and local food-truck vendors, including Big Bubba’s BBQ, will also be on hand for those hankering for a big, messy plate of meat. The contest is free to watch if you’ve purchased grounds admission tickets ($10-$19).

And that’s just a taste of the fun in store at the National Western Complex today; events also include fiddle championships, a rodeo, the “Thank a Farmer Magic Show” and much, much more. Find a complete schedule at nationalwestern.com. Yee-haw!
Jan. 10-25, 2015

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