BBQ plans heating up in Galax

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By Shaina Stockton, Staff

The 9th Annual Smoke on the Mountain barbecue championship will offer a dual competition for participants this year. In addition to scoring points in the traditional Memphis BBQ Network competition, vendors can also place in the Kansas City BBQ Society contest.
Smoke on the Mountain, the official state barbecue cook-off, is held in downtown Galax each year in July. This year's event is July 19-20. The smell of authentic barbecue prepared by award-winning vendors is enough to draw in thousands of people each year for the two-day event.
Teams gather in downtown Galax and face off against one another with their best barbecue recipes. “Teams from all over the country vie for the championship — and that’s more than just bragging rights."

There’s a total purse of $10,000 this year, and winning in Galax earns the champs a spot in the 2014 “Memphis in May” World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, according to a brochure for the event.
In addition to these hot prizes, winners receive handmade instruments designed by Galax master luthier Tom Barr. MBN grand champions receive a handmade banjo, KCBS winners a dulcimer, and runners-up in both contests get fiddle trophies.
Many of the top teams on the national barbecue circuit are scheduled to compete this year, which many will recognize from their appearances on The Food Network or the Travel Channel. According to The Galax Smokehouse co-owner Ron Passmore, there were already 20 teams signed up for the cook-off by the end of June.
The restaurant and the Twin County Regional Chamber of Commerce co-sponsor the event.
The Food Network will make an appearance this year as they follow “The Shed," a barbecue team whose claim to fame is building barbecue restaurants out of metal sheds all over the country. The filming at Smoke on the Mountain will be an episode in a new television series that centers on the team.
The episode is scheduled to air on August 5, according to Passmore.
A camera crew will also be following Bubba’s Grills, a barbecue team that is filming independently for their own series, Passmore confirmed. Their main focus for filming will be Tom Barr, the maker of the banjo, fiddle and dulcimer trophies
“There will be a lot of filming going on that weekend, lots of exposure,” Passmore said.
The Smoke on the Mountain planning committee has spoken with The Food Network for several years about covering the event, and are excited to see Galax put on the map through these projects. “We’ve always been willing to let them come here and film, but we are still a young contest,” Passmore pointed out.
This year will see the return of many of our champion barbecue teams, including Sweet Swine of Mine, a team that now carries the title of “Reigning World Champion” in the Memphis in May competition. “They were here in the first contest nine years ago, and they are coming back this year,” Passmore said.
Myron Mixon of Jack’s Old South, a celebrity chef and the “winningest man in barbecue,” will also appear as he does each year, at his usual spot on West Grayson Street, Passmore said.
Aside from the competition itself, Smoke on the Mountain offers something for everyone.
Visitors tend to get pretty hungry after enough whiffs of the tantalizing barbecue. However, most teams are there to compete, not sell. In fact, they can’t sell from their competition sites.
To satisfy their appetites, food vendors will set up shop on the streets to offer plenty of barbecue for the masses, along with sweet treats like ice cream, and even exotic dishes like frog legs and alligator. On Saturday afternoon, after judging ends, some teams may choose to share free samples of barbecue from their booths at their discretion.
There will be a special raffle for a handmade barbecue smoker donated by Bubba’s Grills, valued at $1,300.

Food & Fun
A Wine and Beverage Garden will be held from noon to 11 p.m. daily at the Farmers Market Stage area on North Main Street, with selections from West Wind Winery, Mt. Vale Vineyards, Virginia Eagle and Chateau Morrisette.
Children’s activities include craft vendor booths, a mechanical bull ride, pony rides, a bouncy house, wall climbing, swings and other games.  
Visitors can take a free shag dance lesson at the Farmers Market Stage on July 20 at 3:30 p.m., then try out their new moves in the shag contest from 3:30-4:30 p.m.
Entertainment will be provided at the Farmers Market Stage on North Main from 8-11 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday (July 19 and 20). There will be performances by local bands Hip Pocket on July 19, and Band of Oz on July 20. Tickets are $10 for both nights.
There will also be free bluegrass and old-time music at Barr’s Fiddle Shop on South Main Street from noon-3 p.m. on both days. DJ Andy Wright will be on the Farmers Market Stage on from 4-7 p.m. on Friday, and 3-6 p.m. on Saturday.

Bike Ride
Those in attendance are also encouraged to participate in a Tour the Twin Counties Bike Ride, sponsored by Main Street Bikes of Galax, on July 20 starting at 9 a.m.
The two bike rides — one 25 miles long and the other 62 miles long — are on local roads, beginning and ending at the Twin County Wellness Center.
Registration begins at 8 a.m. A “King of the Mountain Prize” will be awarded.
For more information, call Doug Hines at (276) 236-5931.

Smoke on the Mountain is sponsored by the Twin County Regional Chamber of Commerce, The Galax Smokehouse and the City of Galax, with support from a number of sponsors, including Abilene Motor Express, AEP, Andrews Farming, Barr’s Fiddle Shop, Blue Ridge Crest, Bogeys Restaurant, Cavalier Supply, CenturyLink, Doctor’s Inn, E.G. Forrest, Einhorn Construction LLC, Food Service, Food City, The Galax Smokehouse, Grayson National Bank, The Hall Foundation, Hills Coal and Trucking, McGrady and McGrady Law Firm, Mink Motor Sales, Pepsi, Results of Galax, Rotenizer Drapes and Flooring, Scoots of Galax Restaurant, Tastee-Freez of Galax, Terry Labonte RV of Greensboro N.C., Tractor Sales of Virginia, Vaughan Furniture, Virginia Eagle, Virginia Tourism Corp., WBRF-98.1 FM and WWWJ-1360 AM, Walmart, Waste Industries and Wells Fargo.

For more information, visit smokeonthemountainva.com.