Locals get BBQ ‘bragging rights’

Deep South BBQ lands first place in competition

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ASHEVILLE, N.C. — In the world of BBQ, it’s all about the taste, but when it comes to competing, it’s about who will get bragging rights.

So when Deep South BBQ and Tear-A-Byte BBQ, two Cumming-based teams won first and second place, respectively, in the Ashville, N.C. Sam’s Club National BBQ Tour June 8, just imagine the celebration.

“This is the most exclusive BBQ competition in the country,” said Randall Bowman, who runs Deep South BBQ and Deep South Smokers. “We came home holding our heads high.”

Bowman also organizes and runs the annual National BBQ Cup at the Cumming Fairgrounds. This year, the event takes place Nov. 15 and Nov. 16 and it’s now dubbed the largest BBQ event in Georgia and the third largest in the country.

On team Tear-A-Byte, Ed Bishop and Kevin O’Neal, of Cumming, say they are proud of their accomplishment and say Bowman has been a mentor to them all along.

“I knew Kevin and Ed were making the trip to Asheville and wanted to help so I gave them a little boost with some information, photos and recipes to try to help,” Bowman said. “Boy that almost bit me right in the rear.”

And it’s not over for Bowman, who will go on to the next round of competition in Chesapeake, Va., in September. Bowman usually takes part in about 22 contests each year.

Carolyn Wells, the executive director of Kansas City Barbeque Society, which sponsored the event, said the Sam's Club National BBQ Tour adds a whole new dimension to competition barbeque.

The 2013 tour features about 750 of the country's best competition BBQ teams, from all points across the country, cooking in 25 local events.

The top six competitors from each local event advances to one of five Regional finals, all leading to the National Championship event held at Sam's Club headquarters in Bentonville, Ariz.

Fifty qualifying teams will compete for $150,000 in prize money and huge "bragging rights" as competition BBQ's true National Champion.

“[We’ve] raised the bar in competition barbeque,” Wells said. “We are honored to have them as part of our KCBS-sanctioned contest network of events.”