By Kenyon Stronski
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Taber’s very own Backyard BBQ Competition is preparing to go forward with their event as the festivities of Cornfest weekend have died down.
The very first Backyard BBQ Competition was held back in 2019 and it was a huge success.
“We had planned to feed 300 people and I believe the final count was around 375 give or take, and of course we had the competitors and the people who came out to watch the band so it was actually more of a turnout then we had thought in 2019,” explained Communication and Projects Co-ordinator Meghan Brennan.
With the success of the inaugural year of the barbecue, it is believed that year two could be even better.
“We do expect a bigger turnout this year,” added Arts, Culture and Events Co-ordinator Amy Allred. “We’ve had a lot of people interested in it and we are getting more pigs, so we can feed more people and we’ve got some other activities going on in the park as well so we’re hoping for a great turnout.”
This year will be a little different from 2019 as the competitors will only be cooking ribs. Brennan noted that while it was fun to have so many different kinds of meats, it’s incredibly hard to judge a rib against a brisket.
“We just wanted to even the playing field and also make it really easy for competitors and judges.”
Brennan also mentioned there wasn’t any major changes to be made to the 2021 iteration of the barbecue.
“I think the feedback from 2019 was really great. We’ve made some minor tweaks, like shortening it a little as a 6 a.m. check-in was a little much for some of the competitors. But really, honestly it’s basically just going to be an upgrade from the 2019 version so we’re hoping it’s just going to be better.”
As of Monday morning — sign-ups for the competition are still open and will be half-price until Sept. 7 and there can be up to 32 competitors.
“We’re slashing the entry fee in half and even if people don’t know if they want to compete we still want them to try so we’re trying to get everyone we can to come out.”
Competitors will have to bring their own cuts of meat, and it is strongly encouraged to buy local. Judging will be done by two sponsors of the event accompanied by Taber Mayor Andrew Prokop and M.D. of Taber Coun. John Turcato. For the competitors, there will be cash prizes for third, second and first place, and will be based on the amount of people that register. There will also be door prizes for competitors and the general public.
This event is also held to highlight local meat producers as they are just as important to our area as our crop farmers.
“All of our sponsors have been extraordinarily generous and we wanted to highlight our meat producers. Taber and region is very famous for our crops, and our meat producers should be equally as famous because they are equally as good. They sponsored us very generously back in 2019 and they did in 2021 as well so we just want to give thanks to them as they are a key part of our region,” said Brennan.
The Backyard BBQ Competition will be held on Saturday, Sept. 11 at Confederation Park, and pigs for the pulled-pork dinner are sponsored by Palliser Sales and Copperfield Colony.