By Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Almost 100 professional barbecue teams will descend today on Tupelo to compete for the top prize at the Don’t Be Cruel BBQ Duel.
The event is Friday and Saturday. It’s free and open to the public. Along with food, the event will have free music Friday and Saturday.
And there will be plenty of barbecue, assured Melanie Deas, executive director of the Link Centre. Barbecue plates will be on sale for $6 Friday and Saturday at vendors’ tents. Plates will be barbecue chicken quarters, pulled pork sandwiches or barbecue nachos. Ribs will be for sale at dinner.
Beer and Coke products will be for sale. Plus, Raise Your Pints will have a free beer-tasting tent in front of City Hall.
The teams aren’t expected to have samples at their booths, but visitors on Saturday can buy a taste and vote for the People’s Choice Award. Three dollars will get you five samples for People’s Choice.
The Link Centre started the event last year as a fundraiser and had 15 professional teams, making 31 total. The organization ran out of room, so the duel was moved to Fairpark.
And the event now has taken on a life of its own, Deas said.
The two-year-old event has become the state’s largest barbecue competition. It’s also been designated as the state’s championship event, meaning the winner will have bragging rights as the top barbecue team in Mississippi. Plus, the winner gets $5,000.
A dozen of the country’s top competitive barbecue teams will participate this year, including Johnny Trigg’s Smokin’ Triggers and Myron Mixon’s Jack’s Old South.
And, the television show, “BBQ Pitmasters,” will film an episode at the event.
About 10 local teams are slated to participate in the competition.
FRIDAY, MARCH 16:
11 a.m. – Public events open. BBQ plates on sale for $6. Bob Ray on stage.
Noon – Lucky Jefferson on stage.
5:30 p.m. – Dinner BBQ plates on sale for $6.
6 p.m. – Bonfire Orchestra on stage.
8 p.m. – Busted Screen Door on stage.
11 p.m. – Festival quiet hours begin.
SATURDAY, MARCH 17
10 a.m. – Public events open. On stage: Miss 98 Live, Atlanta Falcon Reggie Kelly.
11 a.m. – BBQ plates on sale for $6 and People’s Choice voting starts. Tupelo Hound Dog dancers on stage.
Noon – Surviving Allison on stage.
2 p.m. – Pay-Per-Blues on stage.
4 p.m. – Awards ceremony.
5 p.m. – Event ends.
For more information, visit www.tupelobbq
duel.com or call (662) 690-4011.
Map of traffic changes in today’s NEMS Daily Journal newspaper.