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A to Z will host family event

A to Z stores in Alma will host its Biggest Buck and Best Rack professional barbecue competition and family event for the second year in a row on Sept. 13.

A to Z is holding the Kansas City Barbeque Society sanctioned barbecue competition in conjunction with a free family event from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., followed by a country music concert.

“It’s really a way to give back to the community, to offer a family-friendly environment,” said Brad Trent with A to Z, who is organizing the event. “It’s getting harder and harder for families to find entertainment that they can afford.”

Since A to Z, located at 3625 North U.S. 71, has property on both sides of the highway, the barbecue competition will be held on the east side. Only participants will have access to the barbecue competition.

On the west side of the road in front of A To Z Sporting Goods will be the food and entertainment area, which will be open to the public.

A main stage will have music throughout the day, with country musician Bobby Bare as the featured entertainer, Trent said. Bare’s performance will start between 6 and 7 p.m. and will last until about 9 p.m., Trent said.

Meat prepared by the professionals and basic sides will be served up in the dining area, while another area will be set up with activities for kids, he said.

Cost for meals are $3, or $5 for the People’s Choice Award, in which the public can sample the professional barbecue meat and vote for the one they think is best, Trent said.

“The only thing anyone would have to pay for is to eat the barbecue,” Trent said. “All they have to do is come enjoy it.”

Event organizers are offering another way for the community to get involved, as well. Non-profit groups will be able to set up a booth at the event free of charge to help them make money for their organization, Trent said.

About 24 non-profits set up booths at last year’s event, Trent said.

“And of course, all of our stores will be open,” Trent said. “We’ll be running good sales that day for the public.”

Tonia Dray, manager for A to Z, styled the event after a professional barbecue competition she attended during a trip to Reno, Nev.

About 5,000 people turned up for the event in 2013, the first year of the event, but Trent said the rain kept attendance lower than anticipated.

“We’re expecting this year, open to close, we’re expecting to hit our 10,000 mark,” Trent said.

As with most KCBS sanctioned events, professional pitmasters will sign up to win cash and prizes for serving up the best grilled or smoked pork, beef and chicken.

A to Z organizers are offering $7,500 in total cash and prize money for the competitors that place in their category, with $1,400 and a trophy going to the grand champion.

Team entry fees are between $150 and $175.

The Biggest Buck deer hunting competition is being held Oct. 5 through Dec. 15 in conjunction with the barbecue event.

For more information, contact Trent at (479) 632-2656 or atozbradley@gmail.com.

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