Whether the name Billy Sims rings a bell or not probably depends upon how old you are and what your favorite sports are — or if you're of any age and happen to come from Oklahoma. Sims had a spectacular time at the University of Oklahoma as a running back in the late ’70s, which culminated in a 1978 Heisman Trophy, and then went on to give Detroit Lions fans something to remember for several years before a knee injury ended his career.
In 2004, he and business partner Jeff Jackson opened the first Billy Sims BBQ in Tulsa and have grown the operation into more than fifty franchised outposts in six states over the past thirteen years. College athletes are legendary in Oklahoma, but if you grew up there and somehow missed out on Sims the athlete, you probably know Sims the restaurateur.
The barbecue chain that bears his name has already gained a foothold in Colorado Springs, so the Edgewater location won't be the first one in the state, but it comes courtesy of first-time franchisees Cody and Sharla Wright and veteran Dave Dunn, who runs five of the smokehouses in Kansas.
The menu at Billy Sims offers nine kinds of meat smoked in-house daily, with the most intriguing being smoked bologna. If you want to purchase Billy Sims's Heisman, you can: It's the name of a three-meat sandwich stuffed with smoked sausage, bologna and your choice of pulled pork or brisket. The rest of the menu is filled with football references; sides, for example, are called sideliners, and rib packages are named for player positions — receiver, running back, full back — depending on the size of your appetite.
Billy Sims himself will be on site at the 1,800-square-foot restaurant on July 14 and 15 to sign autographs, so bring your sports memorabilia and autograph books: You might even get a Sims handprint in barbecue sauce.