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Thousands flock to BBQ Throw Down

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Mike Hill, left, talks with Ed Whitehead while preparing pulled pork barbecue for the People's Choice competition Saturday during the Eastern Carolina BBQ Throw Down in downtown Rocky Mount. Hill and Whitehead are part of the 4 Men and a Pig team from Hillsborough.

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BY AMELIA HARPER
Staff Writer

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Several city blocks surrounding the Helen P. Gay Historic Train station were roped off this weekend as more than 50 cooking teams and 4,000 participants flocked to attend the annual Eastern Carolina BBQ Throw Down on Friday night and Saturday.

Jennifer Schrimper attended the event on Saturday with her daughter Jillian, 11, and their neighbor, Molly Morningstar, also 11.

“I came mainly to hear the music, most of which was more from my era, but the kids came mainly for the games,” Schrimper said.

The city of Rocky Mount offered plenty of free features at the event, including free live music, games, inflatables, competitions, information booths and a car show. There also were several food trucks selling fair fare like funnel cakes. And, of course, there was the barbecue.

While participants were enjoying the music and games, the cooking teams were busy plying judges with delicious samples of their wide array of barbecue stylings. However, judges were forced to select winners. This year, all the winners were from North Carolina. The grand champion, winning a prize of $5,000 was Muttley Crew BBQ from Apex. The overall reserved grand champion was The Smokehouse Bandits from Stem and JQ out of Durham won the People’s Choice Award. Other winners will be posted on the city of Rocky Mount’s Facebook page in the coming days.

However, barbecue is an intensely personal taste. Rocky Mount residents Samuel and Doris Bennett said they preferred the taste of Smokin BBQ. The Bennett was chilling out on the lawn of the train station Saturday enjoying the music and the meats.

“We like everything about this event and we look forward to it every year,” Doris Bennett said.

Vic Rogers, who moved to Rocky Mount in August from the state of New York said this was his first experience with the BBQ Thrown Down, but one he found interesting and enjoyable.

“They have events like this in New York, but they don’t feature barbecue,” Rogers said. “I have lived a lot of places, but I have always come to eastern North Carolina for my barbecue.”

Rogers admits that the barbecue may have been part of the reason he chose to retire in Rocky Mount.

“But I mainly came here for the weather and to escape the high taxes in New York,” Rogers said.

Rogers said he attended the BBQ Throw Down primarily because he was participating in the car show.

“My only regret is that I have not had enough time to sample more barbecue,” Rogers said.

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