Florence Labor Day cook-off will be joint effort

This year?s Florence Labor Day BBQ Cook-off will feature a new twist: a combined competi?tion with the ?Smokin Behind the Barn? contest in Winfield.

Combing for the first ?Route 77 Championship,? the top four teams will divide $1,400 in prize money.

The two-day contest in Winfield contest is set for Friday, Aug. 31, and Saturday, Sept. 1. Florence?s leg of the competition will be Labor Day, Sept. 3.

The winning team will receive a custom-made trophy and a check for $800. The runner-up will win $300, the third-place finisher $200 and the fourth-place team $199.

?We want to offer a great time for the cooks as well as a little additional incentive for teams to check us out in this our first year as a contest,? said Don Williams, Winfield.

Les Allison, Florence, said, ?The idea for a dual championship is a great one, and we?ll be ready to park and check in teams as soon as they arrive from Winfield on either Saturday or Sunday.?

Both of these state-championship contests are sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society.

Planners of the Florence event are asking for volunteers to judge their competition. Judges from last year?s event will be given preference, but otherwise judges will be selected on a first-come, first-served basis, according to Allison.

Judging involves being at a brief orientation meeting at 10 a.m. on Labor Day in the back area of the Doyle Creek Mercantile at Sixth and Main streets in Florence.

Judges will be excused to watch the Labor Day parade, and then will be called back to the judging area at 11:45 a.m. to prepare for the contest.

Turn-in times for the various categories are: noon for chicken, 12:30 p.m. for pork ribs, 1 p.m. for pork, 1:30 p.m. for brisket, and 1:45 p.m. for barbecue sauce.

Judges will receive an official ribbon, nametag and a ?takeout box? for leftover samples.

Judges must be at least 18 years old. If interested, telephone Allison at 620-382-7310 or send an e-mail message to him at lesallison@kans.com.

About 60 judges and table captains will be needed.

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