Barbecue, bluegrass make festival a winner

September 11, 2010|By TRISH RUDDER
  • Chris Cappell, president of the Dizzy Pig BBQ Co., precisely cuts his barbecued ribs for judging at Saturday's West Virginia State BBQ Championship at Pickin' in the Panhandle in Hedgesville, W.Va.
Trish Rudder, Staff Writer

HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. -- The twang of bluegrass music and the smoky scent of barbecue made for a winning combination Saturday at the fourth annual Pickin' in the Panhandle West Virginia State BBQ and Bluegrass Festival.

Held at the Lazy A Campground on Back Creek Valley Road, more than 8,500 people are expected to attend the event, festival director Andrea Ball said.

The festival reopens Sunday at 10 a.m. and closes at 5 p.m., Ball said. Country and bluegrass artist Ricky Skaggs will perform at 4 p.m. on the main stage, she said.

Proceeds from the festival go toward funding tourism by the Martinsburg-Berkeley County Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB), Ball said.

About 75 contestants from across the country participated in the barbecue contest, CVB member Larry Hines said. He said 53 professionals and 22 "backyarders" competed.

About 63 judges critiqued barbecued chicken, ribs, brisket and pulled pork in the judging tent.


Randy Bigler, a representative of the Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS), said his job was to "make sure the cooks play fair and the judges play fair."

"Good luck" was said to many contestants as they walked their marked sample in carryout containers to the judges' tent.

Joe Kemler worked with the Dizzy Pig BBQ Co. of Fairfax, Va.

In the West Virginia contest, Dizzy Pig placed fourth in 2008 and fifth in 2009, Kemler said.

Dizzy Pig has participated in barbecue competitions since 2002, said Chris Cappell, president of the company.

Kemler said the West Virginia state competition winner will attend "the Jack" -- the Jack Daniel's World Championship Invitational Barbecue in Lynchburg, Tenn., in October 2011.

This year's KCBS grand champion winner was Ham Bone by the Fire of Hampton, Va., Ball said. They also won last year, she said.

Chix, Swine & Bovine BBQ of Jessup, Md., finished second and Grog N Hogs of Richmond, Va., placed third in the barbecue competition.

The Josh Williams Band brought Barbara Ricciardi of Bowie, Md., Melanie Fitzgerald of Rockville, Md., and Bobbi Reichwein of Davidsonville, Md., to Saturday's festival.

Ricciardi was waiting for the band to begin, and she intended to buy an autographed copy of the Josh Williams CD to go along with her Josh Williams Band CD collection.

Bob and Tonia McConchie, musicians from Woodstock, Va., performed in the bluegrass competition Saturday afternoon.

Tonia McConchie said she was enjoying the festival and meeting other musicians.

"We probably will jam until daylight," she said.

The band Midnight Ride of Bridgeport, W.Va., won the bluegrass contest, festival publicist Sandy Sponaugle said. Dry Mill Road of Gerrardstown, W.Va., placed second and Amanda Murphy and the Lost Indians of Burke, Va., finished third.

If you go

What: Pickin' in the Panhandle W.Va. State BBQ and Bluegrass Festival

When: Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: Lazy A Campground, 317 Kathy's Lane, Hedgesville, W.Va.

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