2009-03-09 / Local News

Barbecue chefs will compete for $10,000 during S.C. Peach Festival

By SCOTT POWELL Ledger Staff Writer spowell@gaffneyledger.com

Barbecue chefs will compete for bragging rights and nearly $10,000 in prize money at this year's South Carolina Peach Festival.

The festival has formed a committee to organize a barbecue cookoff for July 17. The first-ever competition has been sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society, the world's largest organization of barbecue and grilling enthusiasts.

The Kansas City Barbecue Society sanctions and provides judges for almost 300 barbecue competitions in 44 states. The nonprofit organization will provide judges certified to judge all types of barbecue from St. Louis and Texas to Memphis and Carolina styles.

Teams travel across the country to participate in barbecue competitions in the categories of pork ribs, pork shoulder, beef brisket and chicken.

Festival board member Dennis Stroupe said he is still working to schedule a judging class in Gaffney so local residents can become certified to judge this year's barbecue contest entries.

"We are very excited about being able to hold a barbecue cookoff at the festival. We have a large purse and are making progress in organizing the event," Stroupe said. "We hoped we would be able to schedule a judging class this month, but the (Kansas City Barbecue Society) already has a full schedule. It now looks like we might have a judging class in April. We have not finalized a date."

The South Carolina Peach Festival Board will hold its next meeting March 10 at 6 p.m. in the Chamber of Commerce office. The festival is scheduled for July 10-19.

Festival events include a family funfest, dessert contest, demolition derby, Peach Ball, skateboard and basketball tournaments and an outdoor movie and dance in Blacksburg.

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