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Sun, Oct. 13

Local teams to challenge regulars at 'A Smokin' Good Time'

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Can a first-time barbecue competitor pull off an upset? Come and see.

You've seen them on BBQ PitMasters and similar television shows. Competition barbecue teams, cooking and smoking ribs, pork, chicken and brisket to tasty, tender perfection. It's a skill mastered with years of practice.

"A Smokin' Good Time" will bring more than 25 teams from five states to the area for a two-day Kansas City Barbeque Society sanctioned event at Tim's Toyota Center Oct. 18-19.

But for a handful of teams, competitive barbecue is not their whole life. These locals are taking on the big boys of barbecue with their own well-seasoned entries.

Toni Nipper and Stephanie Stafford, the "Dizzy Chicks" at Dizzy's Deli and Goodie Shop, jumped on the chance as the first local entry. They are excited about the competition, and the opportunity to introduce people from the greater Prescott area to real barbecue.

Then the guys from Fireside Grill in Prescott Valley, Kevin Leffler and John Garrett, joined in, bringing their team, Up in Smoke. Admittedly, they don't have nearly the travel distance of some of the teams, coming from California, Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico. Then James Oudin, a Prescott Valley resident who formerly co-owned a barbecue restaurant in Bullhead City, pulled out his smokers for his entry, JSO Pit Crew.

Perhaps the frontrunner of the locals is Mike and Lynn Jeffrey of Prescott Valley. Their Montana Bar-B-Q team is a favorite for local catering. But the Jeffreys travel around the West, cooking for events, sometimes competing. They, too, are happy that they get to contend for the Grand Champion title on home turf this time.

The competition benefits the Coalition for Compassion and Justice, a poverty-relief center serving the greater Prescott area. CCJ provides services such as hot meals, commodities, clothing and emergency vouchers, school supplies, diapers, home repairs, and mentoring to individuals and families in the area, helping them to work toward self-sufficiency.

"We're really excited about the opportunity to offer this kind of event in the Quad City area," said Gail Kenny, CCJ executive director. "What could be more family-friendly, more Western than barbecue? It's going to be two solid days of good food, music, competition and fun."

A Smokin' Good Time opens at 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 18, outside Tim's Toyota Center in Prescott Valley. The first day's side competitions will be chili and salsa, including a People's Choice competition from 5-8 p.m.

On Saturday, teams will fire up for KCBS judging in the four meat categories. Barbecue sampling for the People's Choice division will take place from 1-4 p.m., with the winners announced at 5 p.m.

Sponsors of the event include Great Circle Radio and the Hampton Inn & Suites of Prescott Valley.

Tickets for A Smokin' Good Time are available at the door for $10, which includes admission to both days' festivities and three tastings.

Additional tickets for samples are $2 each, which includes a People's Choice voting ticket. Children 12 and younger are admitted free.

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