Sulphur Springs High School Future Farmers of America Chapter is gearing up to host its 2nd Annual BBQ Build-Off Wednesday, April 17, at the school.
“The purpose of this contest,” according to contest registration rules, “is to incorporate the ability to think on your feet and produce a project under pressure.”
A fee of $450 per team is charged for entry, which goes toward cost of the pre-cut metal and supplies, including a 24-inch pipe that’s three feet in length. This fee covers the materials and the smoker becomes their property to raffle off or sell. The contest begins at 8 a.m. and lasts the six hours allowed for construction of the smoker.
The competition will pit student teams from schools all around the region against one another. Teams are coming from as far away and near as Corsicana, Rockwall and Rivercrest, according to SSHS agriculture instructor Dan Froneberger.
Each team consists of five students who compete for first through third place prizes. Entry is limited to the first 12 teams to sign up.
Four team members are tasked with constructing a smoker from scratch in six hours. Four members of the team are responsible for making a barbecue smoker using only the tools and portable welders they bring with them. No tools nor electricity will be provided. Teams can bring as many welders, grinders, torches, rods, grinding rocks, cords and any other tools as they can load into one truck and trailer. Since a level work surface is not guaranteed, teams are cautioned to plan accordingly. Since there will be some woodwork, a cutting board is recommended.
Students get only the 15 minutes, when the spot assignment horn blows until the start horn blows, to confer with their agriculture teachers. Students then have six hours to work. Once the horn blows, they must stop to allow judging. Teams should be prepared to ask judges’ questions about their project. Safety throughout the contest will be a factor in judging.
“Projects are judged based on workmanship. Projects will not be painted nor will students have much time to cosmetically alter the project in the time allotted. Also all BBQ's are designed the same,” the contest rules stipulate.
The fifth team member cooks a lunch of what event planners call “pipeline cuisine” for his team members, as well as a plate for judging too. There’s no set criteria for lunch so long as the student prepares it, so cuisine can vary considerably in this contest.
At the end of the contest, the pit become the property of the school team; they generally serve as a good raffle or auction fundraising item. If a team at the end of the day opts to sell their smoker to a local buyer who expresses interest, that will be entirely by “private treaty” between team and buyer.
Of course, the event wouldn’t be possible with out sponsors such as Matheson TRI-Gas, Guaranty Bond Bank, Alliance Band , City National Bank, Flowserve, Northeast Texas Farmers CO-OP and Sietz Fundraising, who underwrite cost of T-shirts and prize packages.
Samples of concessessions and snacks will be availble for the public to purchase while they show their support of the program by attending the build-off.
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