Winning barbecue teams coming to Will Rogers Downs Saturday

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Posted: Thursday, May 8, 2014 5:00 am | Updated: 11:07 am, Sat Aug 9, 2014.

As many as 40 of the region’s best barbecue cooks as well as others vying for that level of recognition, will begin arriving Friday at the Will Rogers Downs and Casino parking lot to begin preparations for Saturday’s (May 10th’s) annual Reveille Rotary Boots and BBQ Festival competition.
Will Rogers Downs and Casino facilities are located three miles east of Claremore on highway 20.  Free public parking is available.
The public portion of the Festival begins at 10 a.m. Saturday when the Festival vendors and entertainment open shop, and the Casino opens for business. Starting  11 a.m., the ever-popular taster kits will go on sale to the general public.  For $6 each, individuals can eat generous samples from all the cooks participating in the People’s Choice Award competition and cast a vote for the one they like the best. 
“This is by far the most popular segment of the festival when it comes to the general public.  A person can just about get all you can eat by the time you get around to each of the cookers,” said John Walke, Rotarian and the Festival’s cooking team manager.  “Winning ‘People’s Choice’ a highly desired title among our cooking teams.”
Reveille Rotary’s Boots and BBQ Festival is a Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS) sanctioned event.  Cooking teams will be competing in Beef Brisket, Pork Ribs, Pork Butt, Chicken, Dessert and People’s Choice.  Trained KCBS judges will decide who will win a portion of the $10,000 in cash prizes and a chance to move on to go to the American Royal in October.
Other food and drink vendors will be on hand to complement the barbecue.   
The Boots and BBQ Festival is an annual event hosted by members of the Reveille Rotary Club of Claremore.  Money raised from the event is used by the Club to further the success of their long list of service projects. The Will Rogers Downs and Casino is the presenting sponsor for the event providing funds for the winner’s payout as well as location facilities and services.  The Casino is open starting at 10 a.m. each day.  An added attraction is live horse racing which begins at 1 p.m.
RCB Bank is a major sponsor. The event draws a large crowd of visitors both local and from across the state. 
“It looks like this year’s festival will be another winning event.  It’s always a nice time of the year to take a drive, spend quality time outdoors and enjoy being a part of an event that supports good works in our community,” said Walke.  
The Festival committee management team is Rotarians Sam Nichols, chairman; Walke, cooking teams; Steve Gragert, vendors; Rogers Fleming, judges.

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