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Big Blue Barbeque 2020 in Shelbyville; plans altered by COVID-19

The Big Blue Barbeque, the state sanctioned KCBS Barbeque contest, is on for 2020.


In its third year of competition, The Big Blue Barbeque will be host to 50 teams from across the United States. The barbeque is held at the Shelby County Fairgrounds each year, and this years event is on August 14 and 15.


“Under normal circumstances, we would have this event in conjuction with the public side of the event. Those events include the Big Blue Car / Truck and Bike Show, beer and wine gardens, art, live music and scores of food vendors.


However, with Covid-19, we had to cancel that portion of the event. We are able to ensure the health and safety of the teams, but the general public is a whole other level of security. Our board felt the only responsible thing to do was to cancel the general public side,” remarks Rachael Ackley, Executive Director of SCTVB.


2020 was going to feature a new 5k run event that coincided with the Barbeque, and it was going to be through inflatables.


“We plan on having the Big Blue 5k Inflatable Run next year for serious runners, and a fun run for those who wanted an opportunity to take the 5k inflatable challenge!”


This year’s Big Blue Barbeque will see no change in the hospitality shown to the 50 teams, as dinners and breakfast will be featuring local caterers, wearables and growlers will be given to each KCBS team, and cash prizes along with unique Shelby County trophies will be awarded.


“We take really good care of the teams who travel here to Shelby County, as well as the certified KCBS judges who travel here to take part in the task of judging all four meat categories, along with dessert. We also have a Kid’s Q event that allows children 9 through 15 to participate in the art of barbeque,” states Nisha Ciarletta, Operations Manager for SCTVB.


For the past several years, SCTVB has invested in the Shelby County Fairgrounds to ensure teams can participate by offering up to date electrical and water services to the teams. The remainder of the year, the Shelby County Fairgrounds is able to offer these camp sites to visitors.


Says Ackley, “Our partnership with the Shelby County Fairgrounds, and their board of directors, is second to none. We could not host this event without the leadership of the fair board, and the hours of work put in by Jeff Pruitt, Fair Board President, is invaluable to us.”