A local Smithfield barbecue competition has received a huge boost.

Slab-O-Rama, a Kansas City Barbeque Society-sanctioned event being held this weekend, has been awarded a $4,500 grant from Smithfield Foods, Inc.

The event, launched by the Rotary Club of Bullhead City, is in its fourth year. Club President Ken Gregory said that organizers think the grant was awarded “based on the enormous success of last year’s Slab-O-Rama.”

Gregory said he expects this year’s event to be even bigger, with at least 70 teams vying for the $15,000 grand prize and thousands of people attending.

It will be, he said, in all probability, the largest sanctioned barbecue competition in the western United States.

Rotarian T’shura Elias said that Slab-O-Rama will earn cookers KCBS points, and is a qualifier for American Royal and Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational competitions.

She said that teams will come as far away as Rhode Island.

The Smokin’ With Smithfield grant program, established in 2017, invests in the sport of competition barbecue by increasing the available prize money and providing event support to sanctioned competitions

More than 300 applications for the grants were received. Slab-O-Rama was one of 41 awardees, and is the only recipient in Arizona and one of only two in the Far West.

Elias said 80 KCBS Certified Barbeque Judges, most of whom are KCBS Master Judges (with dozens of competitions under their belts), will descend on Rotary Park for Slab-O-Rama.

Gregory said the event also is intended to be a fun time for local people, with a petting zoo, a battle of the bands, vendors and other attractions. 

Elias said the Bullhead City government is partnering with the club, and that the Bullhead City/Laughlin Senior Games will be wrapping up at the park as Slab-O-Rama takes place. 

The events, in fact, will host back-to-back awards ceremonies, she said.

Gregory said that all money raised at Slab-O-Rama will come back to the community in the form of scholarships, park improvements, leadership camps and other community causes.

The festivities will begin at 5 p.m.. Friday with a rib-tasting that’s open to the public. Judging for desserts and appetizers begins at 6 p.m.. 

The competition starts in earnest at 10 a.m.. Saturday, but Interact Club members from Mohave High School will be serving breakfast starting at 6 a.m..

A Bloody Mary bar will be among the offerings later in the morning.

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