Barbecue heats up Marshalltown

Barbecue filled the air in Marshalltown Friday night as the 15th Annual Iowa State BBQ Championships got things underway.

Hundreds of people came out to the annual event, which features 28 barbecue teams from all over the Midwest going head-to-head to serve up the best pork, chicken, ribs and brisket the area has to offer.

Bob Wenner, chair for the Iowa State BBQ Championships, said things have gotten off to a great start despite the move from Riverview Park to the Fisher Community Center.

“It’s gone extremely well,” he said. “Even with the move things are going well.”

Heavy rains in late May caused flooding at Riverview Park shifting the annual event from the park to the Fisher Community Center.

“I think it’s gonna be a good thing down here,” Wenner said.

A classic car show got the night started off and Richard Arnt, a Des Moines blues singer, kicked off the performances on the live stage followed by Minor Night, of rural Marshalltown, and Loose Neutral from central Iowa.

Food vendors were on site cooking up barbecue, making shaved ice and frying funnel cakes and Wenner said all of the barbecue vendors will be open for service Saturday at 11 a.m.

Chris Bagby, of Urbandale, entered his barbecue team “The Albino Rhino” into the Iowa State BBQ Championships for the first time and said he is impressed with this event. He said he usually goes to about 8-10 contests a year.

“So far we like it,” he said. “It’s put on pretty well.”

Wenner said he will be sending out questionnaires to all of the teams that participated to get feedback on the championships. He said a definite move to the Fisher Community Center isn’t out of the question.

“I would consider it,” he said. “We’ll have to go back and look at our ticket sales; it’s all based on how the public shows up.”

The final day of the championships gets started at 11 a.m. Saturday with food vendors opening, food judging from noon to 2 p.m. and the awards ceremony at 2:30 p.m. Pop will be available, but there will be no beverage garden or live music.