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.