Barbecue and bluegrass are on the menu when an organization hosts an event in Arlington next month.
The public is invited to the 26th Annual State Barbeque Championship of Nebraska. The competition is planned for Aug. 10-11 at the Washington County Fairgrounds in Arlington.
Admission is free to the barbecue contest with proceeds benefiting The Hope Center for Kids-Fremont and the Washington County Food Pantry in Blair.
Hosted by the Greater Omaha Barbeque Society (GOBS), the event showcases the top barbecue talent in the region and nation, said Chuck Ogden, sponsorship chair.
The family friendly event also includes various public activities including: barbecue demonstrations, bluegrass band music, children’s activity zone, various food truck vendors, vendor booths and a beer garden.
Besides competition for professionals, the event offers contests for back yard cooks and kids.
This marks the first time contestants will compete in Arlington.
“We’re getting back to our roots,” Ogden said.
The organization’s last couple of events were in Ralston where more than 75 professional barbecue teams competed with Omaha Steaks as the primary sponsor.
Other previous events have had about 35 barbecue teams with more of a small-town feel, he said.
Contestants will check in that Friday to start preparing chicken, pork ribs, pork shoulder or butt and beef brisket. A fifth category of “Chili Dawg’s” is planned as well.
Besides the Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS) meat categories, the event will feature a backyard contest for the amateur or those who’ve done five or fewer Master KCBS contests, and never won a grand championship.
Meat entries will be judged on appearance, taste and tenderness by trained KCBS Certified Barbecue judges.
In addition, there will be a Kids Que contest. Kids will be able to barbecue a pork chop. A Kids Que meeting is at 1:30 p.m. Judging is from 7-7:30 p.m.
Kid’s Zone activities are planned as well.
Judging for the Chili Dawg’s competition (meat glazed in one of the company’s jellies) is from 7:30-8 p.m. with backyard judging from 8-9 p.m.
That Friday evening, visitors also can listen to bluegrass music by Daniel and the Deliverance and Hardly Strictly from 7-11 p.m. There is no cover charge.
The next day, the public is invited to a pancake feed prepared by Boy Scouts from 6-9 a.m.
Competition judging is from noon to 2 p.m. that Saturday. The awards ceremony starts at 4 p.m. or earlier if possible.
“Our goal with the whole organization is promoting barbecue and giving back to the community,” Ogden said.
Hungry attendees can purchase items from food trucks at the event. One of the vendors is a GOBS board member who’ll sell barbecued meat.
The hope is to get other trucks with pizza or Mexican food.
All proceeds after expenses will be divided between The Hope Center in Fremont and the food pantry in Blair.
Ogden encourages area residents to attend.
“We hope they attend to learn more about barbecuing, to see the professionals in action — and if you’re an amateur — to compete in the amateur contest,” he said. “Bring your kids so they can be involved in the Kids Que.”