Members of BBQ cooking team say they were unfairly kicked out of Memphis in May

Published: May. 22, 2023 at 6:18 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - One team that was competing in the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest was removed during last week’s competition.

After two days of fun, the Game of Bones barbecue team was gearing up for day three when things got a little heated over where chairs should be placed.

Team members Scott and Lauren Ready say it all stemmed from a misunderstanding and a clarification question about where their chairs should go. Then the head of security escalated it to Shelby County sheriff’s deputies.

Friday afternoon around 4:30, the team was preparing to host guests when they say security informed them that they were on their last warning.

The team said they had no knowledge of any prior warning about chairs and asked for clarification.

Once the dispute was settled, security told them the changes would be fine.

But then they say Shelby County sheriff’s deputies arrived, saying there was an altercation with one Black male.

“But the people who were kicked out were also Black men, but they were wearing our team Game of Bones t-shirts. So, they didn’t even fit the description of who the altercation was with,” Scott Ready said.

One of those Black men targeted was Sir Gregory Thorton, a Memphis native who says he had been wanting to be a part of this event for years.

Sir Gregory says he does not remember an altercation, but recalls being called out directly by deputies.

Thorton says the deputy said, “Keep walking. I’m personally escorting you out of the park, so I turned around, like, ‘what the world?’ and I see a sheriff on a four-wheeler, I see two officers on a four wheeler right behind me.

When Sir Gregory asked why he was removed from the event, the deputy responded, “I’m just doing my job, Memphis in May do not want you and that man specifically in this park.”

It was a fun, eventful, and peaceful competition that Sir Gregory says escalated quickly.

“I felt targeted, if I’m honest. I’m born and raised in Memphis. I love the city, but in that moment, I felt no other way, but I don’t belong here,” Thorton said.

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