View Full Version : Smoke on the Water BBQ contest moving

11-02-2007, 10:15 AM
Got this in an email from Betty Cates, one of the organizers of Smoke on the Water. Looks like they're moving the contest from Pine Bluff to Hot Springs. They had a nice little setup down in Pine Bluff (minus the ants). I'm curious to see how things will work out over in Hot Springs. I know Hot Springs is more of a tourist type place and it looks to be the same driving distance. Hope to see some of ya'll there next year.


October 31, 2007
CONTACT: Paul Johnson 501/225-5937
pj72205@swbell.net (pj72205@swbell.net)

One of America’s Premier Barbecue Contests With World’s
Largest Prize Coming to Hot Springs as Part of Giant New Festival

HOT SPRINGS NATIONAL PARK, Arkansas — One of the premier events in the world of competitive barbecuing will make Hot Springs its new home next fall as part of a major new festival: A Balloons and BBQ Weekend Featuring
Smoke On The Water and The Legends Balloon Rally.

“We will combine two events — barbecue and balloons — into a weekend of fun and excitement unrivaled anywhere in the United States,” said Steve Arrison, CEO of the Hot Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Ron Cates’ Smoke On The Water barbecue challenge is already established as one of America’s most famous competitive barbecuing contests, and we will add to that a major hot-air balloon competition that is a surefire attraction for families and visitors.”

Cates, a major player in the rapidly growing world of competitive barbecuing, said, “Locating our competition in one of America’s great tourism destinations will elevate the event to worldwide prominence. I can’t wait to get started on the 2008 contest.”

Arrison said a location large enough to accommodate the large numbers of barbecue rigs as well as the dozens of balloons that are anticipated is under consideration and will be announced soon.

With $15,000 guaranteed to its grand champion cooking team, Cates’ 2007 Arkansas State Championship Barbecue Cook-off, part of the Smoke On The Water festival, which he also managed, offered the world’s largest single cash prize for barbecue and attracted more than 25,000 people to Pine Bluff.

Cates said Hot Springs’ status as a nationally known resort city would only add to that figure.

“This festival combining the barbecue competition and the balloons is going to be HUUUUUUUGE,,” Cates said. “Relocating to Hot Springs will unite an already popular event with a place that people recognize as Arkansas’s No. 1 tourism destination. What a feeling.”

The 2007 barbecue championship featured total guaranteed cash prizes of $50,000. The Arkansas champion automatically qualified for the Jack Daniel's' World Championship Invitational Barbecue held in October in Lynchburg, Tenn.

“This was our seventh year,” said Cates, who conceived Smoke On The Water and its signature cook-off and was their principal promoter, “and our previous contests have put us on the radar of the professional barbecue circuit. By offering the world’s largest barbecue prize and increasing our total purse to $50,000, the Arkansas state championship attracted the absolute best barbecue cooks in the world.”

The Arkansas championship is sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society, whose executive director, Carolyn Wells, said Smoke On The Water’s prize money “absolutely puts Arkansas’s championship up there in the upper echelon among our 223 contests nationwide.”

In addition to its $15,000 top prize, the 2007 championship awarded $5,000 to its reserve champion (second place overall) and $1,600 for third place.

The contest featured four categories (chicken, pork ribs, pork and beef brisket) and awarded a top prize of $3,000 and pay through 15 places in each category.

The Arkansas Festival Association named Smoke On The Water its Festival of the Year in 2005.

In addition to its barbecue championship, Cates attributes the festival’s success and rapid growth to its variety of world-class musical acts and to its fostering “a safe, secure, family-fun atmosphere with plenty for kids to do.” He said the same things would be featured and improved upon when the festival moves to Hot Springs.

For more information call Steve Arrison at 50-1321-2027.