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Bands & BBQ at the Point

KCBS barbecue teams to fire up grills and smokers for contest

Carrollton, Ky., festival offer blues music
and barbecue cookoff

CARROLLTON, Ky. (September 2016) – For many competition BBQ teams, the main goal is having fun. Though competitors are serious about their meats, teams like Pappy Q enjoy the whole experience that comes with butts, briskets and pulled pork.
“This is our eighth year at competing,” said Tom Hillman, one half of the team, Pappy Q. His wife, Bernadette, makes up the other half.
The couple lives in Spencer Co., Ky., and stumbled upon their hidden talents when Tom decided to experiment with their smoker. “I had a buddy who said we should check out a contest in Springfield,” said Hillman.

Photo provided

Tom and Bernadette Hillman of Pappy Q hope to bring home the top prize at the Bands & BBQ at the Point in Carrollton, Ky.

He admitted that at the time he didn’t have a clue about barbecuing but “had fun” at the contest. That was all it took to get him hooked and drawn into the smoky world of wannabe pit masters. After that, “I got serious,” he said.
The couple travels all over the region to fire up the grill and go head-to-head with other competitors in pro division competition. “We do 12 to 15 contests a year.” They have traveled to Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Georgia and North Carolina, just to name a few places.
 “I do most of the cooking,” said Hillman. He even takes on some contests by himself.
Like most barbecue teams now, the couple uses commercial or specialty sauces and rubs. “It’s hard to come up with something new.”
Pappy Q will be one of many teams participating in this year’s Bands & BBQ at the Point on Sept. 16-17 at Point Park in Carrollton, Ky. The contest was formerly known as Blues to the Point. Since 2011, it has been a Kansas City Barbeque Society-sanctioned event.
“Our barbecue teams say they like our venue and how friendly we are. Our prize money is pretty good too,” said Misty Wheeler, Carrollton-Carroll County Tourism director. This KCBS sanctioned event gives out $9,000 in prizes.
“A lot of our competitors come back year after year,” Wheeler said. “It’s like having a reunion and getting to see old friends each September.”
Last year’s Grand Champion was Bark Brothers BBQ from Columbus, Ohio. The Reserve Champion was Grey Street BBQ from Avon, Ind.
Hillman said his team has competed in Bands & BBQ at the Point every year. They were the overall Grand Champions in 2013.
He said the competition is different from other barbecue contests because it has a “great location right on the river. The city takes good care of us, too. They appreciate us and make us feel welcome.”
Wheeler said new events have been added to this year’s Bands & BBQ. A Ride IN Bike Show will take place on Saturday, Sept. 17.  The registration fee is $10, all of which goes directly to Carroll County Animal Support. Registration is from 4:30-5:30 p.m. with awards presented at 6:30 p.m. There will be eight classes: late model, early model, people’s choice, modified, full custom, trikes, RAT bike and vintage.
“We’ll also have a Rolling Thunder Air Show,” she said. The air show will be presented by aerobatic pilot Cliff Robinson of Madison, Ind., at 6 p.m. Saturday, followed by a fireworks show at dusk. Brave souls can take their turn at a dunking tank, and there will be inflatables for kids.
“New this year, too, is admission to our Bands & BBQ,” said Wheeler. “We’re asking that guests bring two non-perishable food items, all of which will be donated to the Carroll County Food Pantry. We won’t turn anyone away if they show up without the two food items, but we would love to be able to deliver a lot of items to the food pantry.”
Wheeler promises there will be some great bands for the event as well, including Jordan Wilson with Kerry Mefford & Jimmy Davis from 8-11 p.m. Friday. The Saturday line-up starts at noon to 2 p.m. with the Louden Mundane Band, Will Wallace from 2-4 p.m., County Wide performs at 6 p.m., Rolling Thunder Air Show at 6:30 p.m., Ride In Bike Show Awards presented from 7-9 p.m., and Nobody’z Bizzness and Kirby’s Dreamland from 9-11 p.m. A break will be taken from the musical lineup from 5-6 p.m. for barbecue team awards to be given out.
To make sure this event is a success each year, “our office staff of three does all the planning and organizing and then a few more volunteers help during the event,” Wheeler said. 
Funding for this event is provided by Carrollton-Carroll County Tourism.  

• For more information, contact the Carrollton-Carroll County Tourism office at (502) 732-7036 or visit: www.visitcarrolltonky.com

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