Crowds line up to purchase plates of barbecue at the 2012 festival. (photo by Samantha Hurst)
Crowds line up to purchase plates of barbecue at the 2012 festival. (photo by Samantha Hurst)

“BBQ Pitmasters” TV series coming to Tryon

Published 3:47pm Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Blue Ridge BBQ and Music Festival celebrates 20 years 

The Blue Ridge BBQ and Music Festival will host the cast and crew of Destination America’s popular TV show, BBQ Pitmasters, at Harmon Field in Tryon during the festival, June 14-15.

Festival founder Jim Tabb, whose daughter Lee Ann Whippen has frequently appeared on the show, was instrumental in getting “Pitmasters” to come to Tryon.

“I’ve wanted this for a long time,” Tabb said. “The show has a great following, and it will bring even more national attention to our area.”

Destination America serves up pulled-pork perfection with its series “BBQ Pitmasters.” The show takes fans into the high-stakes world of barbeque competitions by traveling to the best barbecue festivals in the country, showcasing America’s top hard-core barbecue grillers.

The prize is ultimate barbecue bragging rights and a $50,000 cash prize from Kingsford Charcoal, and entry into the Kingsford Invitational. A panel of judges, including series veteran Myron Mixon, decides the competitors’ fate by blind tasting the grilled creations to determine whose barbecue is worth the sauce and whose should be dropped to the side of the grill.

The series, which premiered on TLC in 2009, plans to film in Tryon during the Blue Ridge BBQ & Music Festival as it celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.

Festival chairman Chuck Britton said he’s excited to add another layer to the celebration of this monumental year for the North Carolina state barbecue competition.

“What a fitting way to add to the fun and excitement of this special birthday year,” he said.

Last year the festival saw record numbers with Britton reporting early numbers of 12,198 paid gate admissions and entrance of 2,898 kids on both days.  A total of 3,688 adults got in without charge during free admission hours Friday morning last year.

The festival each year includes a professional barbecue competition, an arts and crafts section, car show and amusement rides and games for kids.

For festival information, visit BlueRidgeBBQFestival.com.

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