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“The Jack” is latest victim of virus

Posted on Thursday, July 2, 2020 at 3:00 pm

“The Jack” is sacked for 2020.

The 32nd annual Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue, scheduled for Oct. 2-3 in Lynchburg, has been canceled due to concerns about COVID-19, the company said in a press release.

“For 31 years, Jack Daniel’s and its home of Lynchburg, Tennessee has been honored to host the ‘Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue.’ Each year, top teams from all over the world come to the Cave Spring Hollow to compete in ‘The Jack,’ what many consider the crown jewel of the BBQ world. It’s a weekend not only of competition, but also of friendship, camaraderie, fellowship and a whole lot of fun.  After much careful thought and consideration, we’ve made the tough decision to cancel this year’s competition. The health, safety and well-being of our competitors and attendees is our highest priority, and in accordance with current guidelines as well as a desire to maintain The Jack’s status as the premiere competitive BBQ event, we believe this is just the right thing to do.

“We so appreciate the competitors, our attendees, our community and all those who come out every year to support this event.  We share the disappointment, too, but hope everyone will mark their calendars for October 8-9, 2021, because there will be smoke back again in the Hollow.”

It’s another blow to Lynchburg’s business community, which has already seen its many festivals scheduled for spring and summer wiped out by the coronavirus.


“The virus has been devastating for our usual summer tourist count but we have seen an increase in our local support,” said business owner Kellie Sandefur. “Our town really stepped up to help us stay above water and we appreciate every single one of them.”


Mayor Bonnie Lewis said the move to cancel makes sense but it hurts nonetheless.


“This is the first time to cancel after 31 years. Unfortunately, the last two years were ‘watered-down’ events compared to previous years

because of bad weather. But, this year, with no event, I am sure we will see a difference in all tax revenue categories from sales in the stores and restaurants to

gas sales, people staying locally at the hotel and bed and breakfast homes.


“That’s my mayor quote or opinion, but as someone who loves the competition and the

barbecue family that meets annually in Lynchburg, I am sad.”


Also, Lewis said, who would have competed in the barbecue contest would be a factor.


“It does make perfect sense to cancel for the integrity of the contest,” Lewis said. “The Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue is a contest for Best of the Best! With all of the contests that have been canceled across the U.S. since March, there are a lot of would-be winners that didn’t get to compete for a chance to be in the draw

and earn a trip ‘The Jack.’”