Virginia-based team goes back-to-back to claim title for third time in four years
LYNCHBURG, Tenn. — Cool Smoke from Richmond, Va., repeated to claim the title of Grand Champion at the 28th annual Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue in Lynchburg on Saturday.
As Grand Champion, Cool Smoke earned $10,000, bragging rights as a repeat and three-time winner of what many consider to be the most prestigious barbecue contest in the world, and the chance to once again defend its title in 2017.
Cool Smoke placed first in the chicken category and fourth in the pork category en route to winning the 2016 Grand Champion title. This marks the team’s third overall win at The Jack after claiming its first Grand Champion title in 2013 and its second title last year.
“I’m in a dream. I’ll wake up tomorrow and tell you (how it feels to repeat as Grand Champion), but right now my mouth hurts from smiling,” said Tuffy Stone, who formed Cool Smoke in 2004. “To go back-to-back at The Jack, this is just unbelievable.”
To compete in The Jack, domestic teams must win a state championship with at least 25 teams or a competition of 50 teams, or win one of the premiere barbecue competitions in the U.S. — Memphis in May, American Royal Open or Houston World’s Championship Bar-B-Que — which qualifies a team for an automatic berth.
At The Jack, each team competes in seven categories — Pork Ribs, Pork Shoulder/Butts, Beef Brisket, Chicken, Dessert, Cook’s Choice and Jack Daniel’s Sauce.
Seventy-four championship teams from the U.S. and 22 international teams from countries including Austria, Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom convened in Lynchburg to compete for the coveted Grand Champion title this year.
Teams started arriving on Wednesday and the party continued well into the evening on Saturday following the awards ceremony.
“It’s always exciting to see each team’s passion and dedication at the Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue. They live and breathe barbeque. It’s great to see the competition getting hotter every year, yet the friendly atmosphere remains,” said Jack Daniel’s Master Distiller Jeff Arnett. “We want to once again congratulate Cool Smoke on winning the title of Grand Champion for a third time — that’s an incredible feat.”
Pig Skin BBQ from Rockwell, Iowa, was named the Reserve Grand Champion, taking home the second-place cash prize of $2,500.