Judges name winners in Cape Jaycees barbecue festival

Sunday, August 26, 2012
Walter Lents, right, watches as Brent Presser cuts ribs for their team's entry at the Cape Jaycees BBQ Fest Saturday at Arena Park. More photos are at semissourian.com. (ADAM VOGLER)

While Friday was reserved for fun and socializing, Saturday was dedicated to the serious business of competition for the 36 teams in the 20th annual Cape BBQ Fest at Arena Park. The teams began cooking in four classes at 5 a.m. to meet the deadline to present their efforts to the judges.

The grand champion team was Smelly Butts-N-BBQ.

"I'm speechless," said Tim Sills of Sikeston, Mo., the chief cook for Smelly Butts-N-BBQ. "We're tickled pig pink about it."

The Penny Street Porkers have participated in every Cape BBQ Fest from the beginning. The team is comprised of Mike Klipfel, W.R. Withers, and Jim Ham, all from Cape Girardeau. Klipfel, is the chief cook.

"We used to travel a little, not too far," Klipfel said. "It's local, fun, and we try to get bragging rights and win a little money."

This year they won first place in both the chicken category and the brisket category. They placed fourth overall.

"This is the first year we've won since the KCBS came into the event," Klipfel said.

Randy Bigler travels around the country acting as a host and intermediary between local organizers and the Kansas City Barbeque Society.

"My job is to make sure the judges and the teams follow the rules," Bigler said. "I help make sure the organizers put on a good show."

Because this event is sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society the judges must go through a five-hour class to qualify to participate. The classes are taught by instructors authorized by the society.

"The judges pay for all their travel expenses themselves," Bigler said. "It's an expensive hobby."

Bigler said all categories are judged on three things; appearance, taste and tenderness. During the class, students are taught how to tell if an item is overdone or not quite done, along with how to determine the correct tenderness for each.

"Taste, that's not something you can really teach," Bigler said.

Charlie Knote started this competition 20 years ago. His wife, Ruth, was present to hand out awards to the winners.

The money raised during this event will be returned to the community through the Jaycees' Toybox and Christmas for the Elderly programs.

The top 10 of each category were announced; however, only the top five won cash and trophies.

Robbie Guard, the president of the Jaycees and the chairman of the Cape BBQ Fest, said he and his team strive hard to make the event a memorable event.

"We want them to feel at home," Guard said. "We want them to come back. Wherever they're from, we want them to come back year after year after year."

Pertinent address:

Arena Park, Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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