Cowboys and barbecue just seem to go together. At least that's how Brookswood's Kevin Lunn sees it, applauding the addition of a barbecue competition to this weekend's Cloverdale Rodeo & Country Fair.
"I'm not really a cowboy, I'm an '80s hair metal guy," said the 50-year-old barbecue hobbiest who - partnering with his wife April and friend Randy Squires of Willoughby - make up the Porkaholics team, one of 30 competing in the new Cloverdale Cowboy Cook-Off barbecue competition added to the long-weekend festivities.
But the Porkaholics aren't the only Langley tie to this new feature. It's actually the brainchild of Angie Quaale, owner of Langley's Well Seasoned, who has taken on the organizing role for this competition.
"We conceptualized the event from the very beginning with the rodeo board and general manager. They were very keen to make this part of their already fantastic event," she said, adding that this new competition is a great complement to her BBQ on the Bypass she holds every September.
"Anything we can to do grow the barbecue community and barbecue events in Canada is important," she said, and Quaale is thrilled by the response she's getting.
"We are sold out with 30 teams coming from Kansas, Montana, Oregon, Saskatchewan, Alberta, B.C. and Washington State," she explained. "The rodeo has put up $10,000 in prize money, making it a very attractive competition for cooks."
This new event is part of a barbecue competition circuit, sanctioned by the Pacific Northwest BBQ Association.
Saturday will be "sort of the fun day for teams," Quaale said, explaining that they will compete in chili, pie and a bacon battle where each team is given five pounds of bacon and directed to make anything they want using bacon as the feature ingredient.
Then, after cooking all night, Sunday is the main barbecue event.The teams cook pulled pork, beef brisket, chicken and ribs. While Quaale expects the event to attract a lot of attention, she advises people with a hankering for food to be around for free sample.
"The public can purchase barbecue all weekend but to sample the competition food for free on Sunday will be a real treat," she said.
The barbecue competition is being held in the northwest corner of the fairgrounds, beside the food court.
"Follow your nose," Quaale advised.
The main competition starts Sunday at 11 a.m., and every hour on the hour teams will turn in different meat entries to the judges.
Each judge has been trained and certified by the Pacific Northwest BBQ Association. Judges will be evaluating the food based on appearance, texture, taste and flavour. The food is rated on a scale of 1-10 by six judges. After the teams have submitted their food to the judges, they will pass out samples to the public.
"It is a great fit for the rodeo," she said, noting that barbecuing masters from Canada and beyond will pull on their cowboy boots and prove they know how to work a grill - country style - as they battle it out in a fierce competition for a title and cash.
"Barbecue is a fantastic community full of genuine people passionate about their hobby. Barbecue and rodeos have had some very longstanding partnerships - including the biggest one in the world in Texas at their livestock show. Hopefully we can get to a place in the next few years where Cloverdale is the biggest, baddest barbecue event in Canada," said Quaale, who described barbecue as her "love."
"It is my hobby, my business, my social life, and my passion. With my partner, David, we are excited to welcome the barbecue teams from all over the Northwest to participate this weekend. We are going to put on a great event, one the Cloverdale Rodeo will be proud to have as part of the country fair and one that will afford the general public with an opportunity to see professional BBQ'ers in action_ We are going to have a smokin' good time."
Cloverdale Rodeo and Country Fair runs May 18-21.
BBQ show times:
Saturday, May 19
1 p.m. - pie
2 p.m. - chili
5 p.m. - Battle Bacon
Sunday, May 20
11 a.m. - pork shoulder
12 p.m. - beef brisket
1 p.m. - chicken
2 p.m. - ribs
5 p.m. - awards
For more information visit www.cloverdalerodeo.com.