Besides being a place where the community can gather to listen to music, enjoy some barbecue and have a good time — the Pigz in Z’Hills BBQ & Blues Festival also draws serious contenders for its barbecue competition.
This year’s 10th annual festival, which drew about 11,000 people, on Jan. 17 and Jan. 18, was no exception, according to a news release from The Greater Zephyrhills Chamber of Commerce.
Fifty-six teams — including professional and backyard competitors — vied for top honors and trophies in four standard categories of chicken, pork, brisket and ribs.
Over the years, the Pigz in Z’Hills BBQ & Blues Festival has distinguished itself to be a qualifier for four prestigious championship contests: the Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational in Lynchburg, Tennessee; the American Royal World Series of BBQ in Kansas City; the Sonny’s Smokin’ Showdown Invitational of Sanford; and, the World Food Championships in Orange Beach, Alabama.
Besides bragging rights, professional teams competed at the event for $10,000 in prize money.
These are the overall results:
- GitChewSum BBQ, of Venice, under head cook Allen Ponerleau: first place, winning $2,000 overall, plus $1,475 in individual category awards
- Pig Chicka Cow Cow, of Apopka, led by Lee Thompson: second place, winning $1,500 and $500 in individual category awards
Both professional teams won trophies, too.
- Quid Pro Q, of Tampa, under Josh Zudar: first place, winning a trophy and $200
- Smoke Meat Everyday, of Rockledge: second place under Chris Yarborough, winning a trophy and $100
Because it was the festival’s 10th anniversary, there were some new contests added on the evening of Jan. 17.
A Steak Cookoff and Kidz Grillin’ Competition sanctioned by the SCA (Steak Cookoff Association) was sponsored by Bahr’s Propane Gas & AC.
There also was a second Cornhole Tournament, sponsored by Tampa Bay Cornhole Association, with a $500 purse.
Melanie Monson, executive director of The Greater Zephyrhills Chamber of Commerce, shared some thoughts about the events in the chamber’s news release.
“We had a great time on Friday night with our new competitions. The Kidz Grillin’ Competition was a huge hit,” Monson said. “Local 7-year-old Aspen Bahr won the Kidz Grillin’ Competition by cooking a killer pork chop and was the youngest competitor. She was celebrated with hugs and cheers by her family and friends, and beamed receiving her trophy and medal. It is wonderful to see the impact Pigz has on our community,” Monson said, in the release.
“As always, our Pigz committee did a bang-up job organizing this event, and our 200 volunteers worked tirelessly throughout the day to make everything go smoothly,” concluded Monson.
She also expressed gratitude for the event’s sponsors.
Published February 12, 2020