BBQ competition pulls in a big crowd

By Adam Armour | Itawamba County Times

Let it be known that a blazing sun and scalding temperatures won’t ever prevent the people of Fulton from enjoying a good barbecue.
The entire town smelled of slow-cooked ribs, rotisserie chicken and pulled pork Saturday as 40 professional barbecue teams packed their massive grills and trailer trucks into the Jamie Whitten Center campgrounds for the Stand By Your Grill BBQ Championship.
The first-time event – which featured both pro and amateur competitions – was sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society and proved to be a significant win for the area, despite the weekend’s oppressive heat.
In the professional competition, cooks were judged on their abilities in four different categories by a panel of about 50 judges. Teams came from across the South, representing a total of five states. The Grand Champion of the event was Jiggy Piggy Barbeque Team from Decatur, Ala. The two-man team took home a prize of $2,000 and a handmade BBQ platter for their cooking.
According to Kim Graham, Community Development Director for the Itawamba County Development Council, feedback from the event has been positive.
“The participants haven’t had one negative thing to say about this contest,” Graham said. “They are so pleased with how smoothly everything went and quality of the venue – the campgrounds. Every one of them said they’d be back again next year.”
Graham credited a small army of volunteers for the success of the program.
Although the professional contest was largely closed to the public, downtown Fulton was equally packed with people.
Fulton Mayor Paul Walker said it was good to see the downtown area thriving.
“There are a lot of people here in Fulton today,” Walker said. “This is really great for our community.”