Enjoyed beautiful weather and a tremendous turnout for the 2nd annual Walton County Barbecue Festival to benefit the “Communities in School,” program. Held at the Walton County Agricultural Education Center, 30 professional barbecue teams lit their fires and competed for over an $8,000 purse. Sanctioned by the Georgia Barbecue Association, this was a double team points event for the registered teams, which has made a significant difference in their “Team of The Year,” race. Jimmy Hogg, the festival chairman was very grateful to all attendees and barbecue competitors for surpassing last years attendance record.
Several of the professional barbecue competitors were vendors of their great tasting pork. Bouncy houses, jewelry vendors, gourmet foods and other local businesses were also available to peruse. Admission was free for attendees. The barbecue competition raised funds for the “Communities in School,” which provides support and advocates students staying in school while being successful in life. They have made a significant reduction in county drop out rates.
Although the cook teams could not have asked for better weather, the exertion to be the best in pork loin, pork shoulder and pork ribs was finally over Saturday afternoon when the top 10 teams in each category was revealed. An unprecedented THREE cook teams scored a PERFECT 600 in the pork loin preliminary round. Boys Cooking Dangerously, Rescue Smokers and Smokin The Good Stuff had the best pork loins. Smokin The Good Stuff edged out the perfect scores for top prize in the loin category. The recent sudden loss of one team member, Scooter Fields was honored by his team and their “in memorandum,” t-shirts.
Rescue Smokers double-finaled by also appearing in 3rd place for the pulled pork category. Real South BBQ and Bubba Grills were second and first respectfully. Although Southern Hogs and The Porkinator teams prepared impressive pork ribs, Swineholio had dominating ribs, not only taking first in the category, but also Grand Champion, with a trophy and a check for $1500. Robbie Royal and Rescue Smokers continued their domination of the season by taking Reserve Grand Champion, having the highest score in the preliminary round. Rescue Smokers left Walton County retaining their commanding lead in the Team of The Year race.