LYNCHBURG, Tenn. — Championship barbecue teams from across the United States and from around the world — including a record number of International Teams – will converge here in Lynchburg this week to compete for the title of Grand Champion at the 27th Annual Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue.
Recognized by competitors as the most revered barbeque competition in the world, The Jack unites the best of the best to compete in seven categories: Pork Ribs, Pork Shoulder/Butts, Beef Brisket, Chicken, Dessert, Cook’s Choice and Jack Daniel’s Sauce, for the ultimate prize – bragging rights as Grand Champion and a share of more than $45,000 in cash and prizes.
“Each year brings a new level of talent to this competition,” said Jack Daniel’s Master Distiller Jeff Arnett. “It’s great to see the passion and respect for The Jack continuing to grow around the world. In the 27th year, it only seems fitting for there to be a record 27 international teams competing.”
Cooking teams from around the globe will begin arriving in Lynchburg as early as Thursday, Oct. 22. They’ll begin cooking on Friday and the competition and judging will be held on Saturday, Oct. 24 at Wiseman Park from 9 a.m. until 6:30 p.m.
In less than 24 hours, competitors will smoke 3,900 pounds of meat – only the best will be dressed up and served to the pavilion of Kansas City Barbeque Society and celebrity judges.
While one of the state’s smallest counties is known worldwide as the home of the world’s best-selling whiskey, for one weekend each year the smell of sour mash is replaced with the hovering aroma of fire pits and barbecue.
The pit smoke, which leaves an early morning hue suspended over Wiseman Park on the Saturday of the competition, fills the air and greets nearly 25,000 visitors — four times the county’s population — as they congregate for the ultimate barbecue competition.
“The Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue creates a competitive, yet uniquely fun, competition between the best of the best in barbecue,” said Lynne Tolley, KCBS-certified barbecue judge and great-grandniece of Jack Daniel. “Seeing thousands of fans gather in historic Lynchburg to give their support to The Jack, that’s when the competition really comes to life.”
Spectators will descend on Lynchburg to watch the spectacle of competitive barbecuing and enjoy additional festivities such as a music stage, clogging, the country dog costume contest, games and butt — as in pork — bowling.
This year, attendees will include 69 championship American teams and 27 international teams to go along with the 25,000 barbecue fans.
Three teams from Tennessee — Rocky Top Barbeque, of Jonesborough; Uncultured Swine, of Jefferson City; and Under the Radar, from Kingsport — are among the 69 domestic competitors.
To qualify, domestic teams must have won a state championship with a minimum of 25 teams entered, or a competition with more than 50 teams battling in the categories of Pork Ribs, Pork Butts, Chicken, and Beef Brisket.
The final competitors were selected during a blind drawing of all eligible teams in August. The 2014 Jack Daniel’s Grand Champion joins the current season’s grand champions from Memphis in May, American Royal Open and Houston World’s Championship Bar-B-Que who received automatic invitations.
This year’s international line-up boasts teams representing countries including Australia, the Bahamas, Canada, Estonia, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Poland and South Africa.
While championship pit masters will be busy with their barbecue, there will be plenty of other activities in and around Lynchburg.
The scheduled includes, but is not limited to the following:
Friday, Oct. 23
- Parade of Teams through Wiseman Park and the Lynchburg Town Square, 4:15 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 24
- Jack Dash 7 Mile Run, benefitting Moore County Friends of Animals, 7:30 a.m.
- Jack Dash 5K Run/Walk, benefitting Moore County Friends of Animals, 7:55 a.m.
- Awards ceremony for the Jack Dash 7 Mile Run and 5K Run/Walk, Gazebo, 9:15 a.m.
- Live Music: The Nashville Tradition Band Showcase with special guest Miss Brenda Allen Band Main Stage, Lynchburg town square, 11 a.m.
- Butt Bowling (8-11 year olds), Tennis Court, 11 a.m.
- Sign-up for Country Dog Contest at the Softball Field, 11 a.m.
- Country Dog Contest, Softball Field, 11 a.m.
- Live Music: Mike Allen with the Nashville Traditions Band , Lynchburg Town Square, Noon
- Butt Bowling (12-Adults), Tennis Courts, 12:30 p.m.
- Live Music: Various Surprise guests-Lynchburg Town Square, 1:30 p.m.
- Homemade Pie Auction, Jack Daniel’s BBQ Stage, Wiseman Park, 3 p.m.
- Barbecue Awards Ceremony, (Invitational Competition), Judges’ Pavilion, 5 p.m.