Damon Wooley, host for the Smokin' On The Suwannee BBQ Fest.jpg

Damon Wooley

Suwannee Democrat

While many are warming their taste buds to chili and favorite winter foods, the Wooley Bully BBQ Mafia of Live Oak is still firing up the grill and is preparing to compete at the Second Annual Sam’s Club National BBQ Tour that will be held in Bentonville, Ark. Fifty teams from around the nation will compete this Saturday, Oct. 13, for the national championship title and a portion of the prize.

“This is a real honor,” team member Damon Wooley said. “Just to be competing against the caliber of teams is something in itself. But to be able to have a shot at the $150,000 prize purse, [that] is pretty awesome.”

The top 50 barbecue teams from around the nation will meet in a head-to-head competition in the parking lot of Sam’s Club corporate headquarters parking lot, from 11-4 p.m. (CST).

According to a Sam’s Club press release, this national tour is the only continuous barbecue competition in the world. The tour kicked off in Tampa last February and began with 677 teams. Those 677 teams competed in 25 local contests some earned their place at five regional competitions. Only 150 of the 677 teams were selected to participate in the regional rounds. From those competitions, the national championship event has been narrowed down to just 50 teams.

The Wooley Bully BBQ Mafia will be preparing chicken, ribs, pork and brisket. 

“[We prepared by] competing in other contests, cleaning and organizing our cook trailer so we don’t forget anything, and making sure we have fresh rubs and ingredients,” said Wooley.

The barbecue will be judged by a panel of 48 members of the Kansas City Barbeque Society. The competitors will be judged on taste, tenderness and appearance.   

On the trip, Wooley will be accompanied by his father who is his teammate.


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