Here in Northeast Kansas Hy-Vee out of Des Moines, Iowa has opened several stores, especially in the Kansas City metro area. There's even a KCBS sanctioned event at their Barry Road location.
I was first exposed to competition BBQ by attending an event locally (here in Lawrence, KS) where Hy-Vee's competition BBQ team was competing. A huge part of the sponsored team's time was taken up with food on Friday night for the department managers of the two local Hy-Vee stores.
Their slot was easy to find because of the HUGE Hy-Vee banner across the front of their area.
They had plenty of everything . . . and the bottom line was that the experience my wife and I had was awesome. Of course, at the time, I never thought about how the team paid for the 30 or 40 chickens, the snack items or anything else. But it was a good experience!
And I know that if I were sitting on a board at Hy-Vee and a vote came up as to whether the BBQ team was worth continuing, I know my vote would have been ' Oh Yeah! '