Jon K. Rust

Jon K. Rust is publisher of the Southeast Missourian and co-president of Rust Communications.

Contest changes boost competition

Q: Is it true that because the Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce's BBQ fest is now a sanctioned event, local businessman David Knight's barbecue pits will no longer be eligible? What was the chamber thinking? Isn't it supposed to support local merchants?

A: "Not true," said David B. Knight, owner of Cape Girardeau-based Ole Hickory Pits, which sells barbecue smoker ovens around the world.

"Our units are used throughout the country in sanctioned and non-sanctioned events," he said. "The confusion probably has to do with how the rules are listed. Basically, what it amounts to is once the pit is fired up the competitor is required to disconnect the gas. Our professional models have a special switch, called a competition switch, which immobilizes the gas so that the smoker cooks with wood and charcoal only.

"Our new model has been winning contests all over. A few weeks ago Bobbie and Lee McWright with Music City Pig Pals won Grand Champion and $10,000 in the Tennessee State BBQ Championship. This team has really been tearing it up finishing in the Top 10 in their last eight competitions, including the Grand Championship and three Reserve Grand Championships. Another customer, Doug Feil, and his 73-year old mother are quite a team. They just won a reserve grand championship and a big prize, I believe, in Alabama.

"We're excited about the chamber event, and the chamber should be commended," Knight said. "They've put in a lot of work. The contest as it used to be was geared towards local, and it was a fine event. But this is a step up and will bring people from great distances to compete for prizes.

"Another reason more competitors will be drawn from around the country is that they can win points towards eligibility to the American Royal Invitational in Kansas City.

"By the way, there is more than one sanctioning contest, including Memphis in May. But many of the others deal more with presentation rather than relying on scoring the quality of cooked meat. Gaining sanction is good," Knight said.

And when is the Chamber's 13th annual BBQ Fest? Aug. 26 and 27 at Arena park. The grand champion will receive $1,000 in prize money. Reserve grand champion: $750. Contact the Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce for more information about competing. Deadline is Friday. And if you're not competing, the public is welcome. Bring your appetite.

Q: I was wondering how long someone can leave a junk car in their front yard? Is there a city ordinance or rules that pertain to this particular problem? What is the proper complaint process?

A. According to Ty Metzger, Cape Girardeau city nuisance abatement supervisor, here's the ordinance: "No vehicle shall be parked in the front yard of any lot "R" Residential zoning district or in the front yard of any lot used for residential purposes in any other zoning district except on a driveway or turnaround as allowed in chapter 30 of code. A person can't park in the front yard."

"Plus, if a person lives on a corner lot, the side lot is considered a front yard and the same laws apply," said Metzger. "If a person has a complaint of a car for sale or otherwise in the front yard, the person needs to contact the police department and the people will be requested to remove the car. The situation may vary depending if the car starts, so we may say you have 24, 48 hours or whatever to move the car. But in a normal situation, the request will be to move it immediately."

Jon K. Rust is publisher of the Southeast Missourian. If you have a question, e-mail factorfiction@semissourian.com or call Speak Out (334-5111) and identify your call as a question for "Fact or Fiction?"