Frisco takes barbecue to a whole new level with the 22nd annual Colorado BBQ Challenge, taking place Friday, June 19, and Saturday, June 20, with a kickoff concert on Thursday, June 18. This event attracts more than 70 teams from across the country to compete for top honors as the best barbecue slingers in the Rocky Mountains. The Challenge includes pig races, a 6-kilometer Bacon Burner run, live music, a ticketed Breckenridge Distillery whiskey and behind-the-scenes barbecue tour and of course, a lot of great barbecue.
“The Colorado BBQ Challenge kicks off summer in the High Country,” said Nora Gilbertson, event manager for the town of Frisco. “Not only is this an amazing event for foodies, but there is tons of live music and entertainment all set within our cute town surrounded by mountains.”
For the fourth year, there will be an opportunity to earn your barbecue feasting with the Bacon Burner 6K run on Saturday, June 20. The Bacon Burner 6K is a 3.8-mile, out-and-back run, which will take place on a paved recreational path with views of Dillon Reservoir and even includes a bacon aid station. All racers will receive a Bacon Burner T-shirt, and all registrants 21 and older will also receive a token for a free beer at the BBQ Challenge. The race is open to all ages and abilities, and strollers are welcome
The Colorado BBQ Challenge is open to the public, with free live music including a kickoff concert on Friday, June 18, with the Marcia Ball. The live music continues at the BBQ Challenge on Friday and Saturday and includes Stop Light Observation, Mama Magnolia, Pato Banton and the Now Generation, Beau Thomas, Nora Jane Struthers and the Party Line and The Samples.
The Colorado BBQ Challenge offers something for everybody, including the kids. Not only are there pig races, street performers, bounce houses and kid-friendly hamster balls, there’s also a kids’ barbecue competition, Kids Q, on Friday night. The Kids Q has two age groups, 10 and younger and 11 to 15. Grills will be provided in a designated kids’ barbecue area. A parent must be present with the child throughout the entire cooking process, and parents may help. Anything goes in this contest, so kids may prepare whatever they like.
ABOUT THE CHALLENGE
The first official state barbecue challenge was held in Frisco in 1993, with only 12 teams split almost 50-50 between Frisco-area professional and amateur chefs. During the first few years, the event was held at the Frisco Historic Park, eventually growing to encompass two blocks of Main Street. Now in its 22nd year, the Colorado BBQ Challenge extends over six blocks of Main Street Frisco and trickles onto many side streets.
The Colorado BBQ Challenge is a Kansas City Barbeque Society-sanctioned competition. The organization sanctions barbecue and grilling competitions across the United States and promotes barbeque as America’s cuisine. The Kansas City Barbeque Society also has an extensive certified barbeque-judging program. It is the largest society of barbeque enthusiasts in the world. Winners of the Colorado BBQ Challenge in Frisco are eligible to compete in the American Royal — the World Series of barbecue.
Over the past 21 years, the town of Frisco has partnered with nonprofits to help put on the BBQ Challenge and more than $820,000 has been raised for nonprofits during that time. This year, proceeds from the Colorado BBQ Challenge will benefit a half-dozen nonprofits, including Advocates for Victims of Assault, the Colorado Restaurant Association: Summit County Chapter, High Country Conservation Center, Summit County Chamber of Commerce, Mountain Mentors and Women of the Summit.