More than 255,000 people turned out for barbecue, music and good times at Reliant Park this past weekend for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo's World Championship Bar-B-Que Contest.
It was a new attendance record for the annual event, up 4.5% from last year's total of 244,000 participants. The contest, sometimes called Cookoff, marks the traditional start of the Rodeo season each year. This year it was held February 23-25.
A total of 431 barbecue entries from 263 teams spanning the state and beyond participated in the 2012 World's Championship Bar-B-Que Contest, competing in different categories and for the coveted title of Overall Grand Champion.
The winners announced on Saturday Feb. 25 were:
- Overall Grand Champion - Motley Que Crew
- Champion Brisket - Keep'er Hot Cooking Team
- Champion Ribs - Houston Metro Go Texan 5 / Road Dog Cookers
- Champion Chicken - Motley Que Crew
- Go Texan Best Barbecue - Jasper County Area Go Texan
- Dutch Oven Dessert Contest - Swine-Os
- Most Colorful Team - Ram's Club
- Go Texan Most Colorful - Krazy Kookers
- Most Unique Pit - Pitmakers
- Best Team Skit - Pitmakers
- Cleanest Team Area - Ram's Club
- Go Texan Recycling - Calhoun County Area Go Texan
- Recycling - Blowin' Smoke
"It's been such an unbelievable time," said Overall Grand Champion chief cook, Matt Sprouls from Champaign, Ill. "All I can say is God bless Texas."
Now attention turns to the Rodeo itself, which kicks off Tuesday with the band Alabama performing. Rodeo runs through March 18 this year.