Thursday and Friday’s Community Medical Center Foundation Celebrity Gala Dinner and 5th annual Charity Golf Tournament aren’t the only events benefiting from their association with the Tanner Shelby Merz Foundation this summer.
The second annual “Sauce and Cycles” BBQ and motorcycle rally, scheduled for July 10-11, will also get a lift from the TSMF, Chamber/Main Street Executive Director David Branch, said, as the third annual “Memorial Cruise” will begin the morning of July 11 and lead directly into the “Cycles” portion of the Chamber event. Last year, some 70 bikes rumbled down Stone Street – this year, that number could reach 200, thanks largely due to coinciding events. Bikers will vie for some $6,000 in prizes from Frontier Harley-Davidson of Lincoln.
This year’s “Memorial Cruise” will feature one of the better prizes you’ll ever find, as two Kansas City Royals tickets are going up for auction, with an amazing twist: The winners will also get to personally meet All-Star Left Fielder Alex Gordon sometime before or after the Royals’ Sunday afternoon, Aug. 9 series finale against the Chicago White Sox.
“Sauce/Cycles” was a success on both fronts, with BBQ professionals coming from as far away as Louisiana, but more money is up for grabs for meat-cookers this year, too.
Likewise, whereas a year ago Branch said “60 or 70” volunteers were needed, this go around it’ll take closer to 200 to get the many jobs done because of the anticipated surge in attendance. Branch estimated 2,500 people passed through during the day Saturday and 700 purchased wristbands for the evening’s entertainment. As was the case in 2014, the “High Heel Band” will both perform Saturday night, from 7-11 p.m.
The Kansas City BBQ Society Sanctioned Contest will be staged with $1,850 going to the Grand Champion, $950 to the Reserve Champion, and $500 to the Second Reserve Champion. In the four individual categories (ribs, pork butt, brisket and chicken), $500 will be awarded for first, $400 for second, and so on, with $50 going to 8th, 9th and 10th place finishers. That’s a total of $10,500 in prize money.
Last year’s Grand Champ, Iowa’s “Smokey D’s,” which had previously been featured on TLC’s hit show “Pit Masters,” will not return to FC this summer, Branch said, so someone else is assured of walking away with the big money.
For the Backyard Grillers, $500 is on the line for the Grand Champion and $250 for Reserve Champ. Six places will be paid in both “ribs” and “pork butt” categories, starting at $400 for first, then $300 for second and so on, to $50 for sixth place, for a total of $3,000 in prize money.
The locals also proved to be heavy hitters in both categories a year ago, with Matt and Danelle Cromer, of “Crome’s Smoke,” upsetting “Smokey D’s” for second place in the professional “brisket” category. Jason Mackey’s “SunMart” team also finished in the money in the sanctioned contest, placing sixth in both “brisket” and “ribs.”
Locals who dominated the Backyard Grillers Division included Allen Phroper of “Big Al’s BBQ,” Mitch and Julie Sailors and Brandon Liberty’s “Limp Brisket,” Jeff Fankhauser’s “Up in Smoke,” Mackey and Falls City native Todd Finner.
Check-in for cookers and People’s Choice rib pick-up will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, followed by a Sanctioned Cookers Meeting at 5 and a Backyard Grillers Meeting at 6. People’s Choice Turn-in runs from 7:05-7:20, with People’s Choice Voting from 7:30-8:30. At 9:30 – or when it’s dark – a movie will be featured.
The following morning, July 11, the Tanner Shelby Merz Foundation Poker Run will begin at 9 a.m.; from noon to 2 p.m. is the Sanctioned BBQ Judging; from 3-9 p.m., Kids Events (bouncy house, dunk tank, cotton candy, face painting); 3-3:30, Backyard Griller Judging; 4 p.m., Sanctioned Griller Awards; 4:30, Backyard Griller Awards; 4-11, Beer Garden; 4-7 p.m., Motorcycle Show; 6:30 p.m., Motorcycle Awards; 7-11 p.m., music from the “High Heel Band.”