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World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest kicks off

Published: May. 11, 2022 at 6:47 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest kicked off Wednesday, and this time it’s in at a different location.

The showdown is happening at Liberty Park, and over 200 teams will be competing in the 44th annual World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest.

There’s a lot of local teams, but there’s also some who have traveled quite the distance. There’s a team from Mexico, Japan and even Norway.

Craig Whitson, Team Captain of the Norwegian National Barbecue Team, says this is the only contest they do.

“The first time we were here was is 2017, so it’s our 5th anniversary and we’ve been here every year expect for the last two years because of COVID,” said Whitson.

BBQ Shogun is the team from Japan, they’ve competed five times. This time they will be serving up some shoulder.

“The first time is rib, ribs two times, two times shoulder,” said team captain Tamio Shimojo.

There’s also a lot of teams who say the contest has become a tradition.

“We come to Memphis every year since 1997, we’re fortunate enough to win 5 world grand championships here and we’ve won our category 11 times,” said Chris Lilly with Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q.

Lilly says this year his team is looking to redeem themselves this year.

“We did not win it last year so this year we’re out for revenge,” said Lilly.

One thing all the teams say is they love Memphis and say the friendly competition keeps them coming back.

We love just the family atmosphere, everybody is friends, everybody gets along, you can ask a question to anybody even if they are competing against them and they will help  you out, it’s kind of just a really cool family atmosphere,” said Chris Cavender, Team Captain for Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q.

Tickets are $13 online, and $15 at the gate.

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