Register now for the 2nd Annual Dowagiac BBQ Competition,

sanctioned with the Kansas City BBQ Society

Saturday July 20, 2024

Come show off your CHICKEN & RIB skills! We close downtown Dowagiac on Front Street and host the Dowagiac BBQ Competition and Summer Festival. Great food, children's activities, vendor booths, entertainment and more! Join us.

Team Schedule:

Friday July 19, 2024

Optional load in 1:00 pm - midnight

6:00 pm - 10:00 pm Beer Tent with Band outside Oak + Ash

Saturday July 20, 2024

6:00-7:00 AM Team Arrival & Setup

7:00-8:00 AM Meat Inspection, Teams need to be checked in / meat inspected before team meeting

9:30 AM Team Meeting (Mandatory for all teams)

12:30 PM Judges Check-In

1:00 PM Judges Meeting (Mandatory for all judges)

2:00PM Chicken Turn-In (1:55PM to 2:05PM)

2:30PM Pork Rib Turn-In (2:25PM to 2:35PM)

4:00 PM Awards Ceremony (Approximate)

Award Money:

Grand Champion $500

Reserve $400

Chicken & Rib 1st Place $300

Chicken & Rib 2nd Place $200

Chicken & Rib 3rd Place $150

Backyard Contest Rules and Regulations

Each team will be allotted a space that is approximately 12' wide x 20’ deep. Teams are allowed to bring a 10x10 canopy, tables, chairs, and family-friendly team signage to place within their allotted space. You will not be able to erect any structures (other than a 10x10 canopy). All items necessary to cook your ribs and chicken must be brought by the team (e.g., grills, smokers, wood, charcoal, water). Charcoal and wood are the only heat sources allowed (no lighter fluid, gas, propane, etc.). Each team will be supplied a container for submitting their ribs and chicken. Vehicles and trailers must be parked off-site. Public parking is available nearby.

  • Uncooked ribs - cannot be seasoned until after inspection
  • Uncooked chicken - cannot be seasoned until after inspection
  • Cooking equipment for your ribs and chicken
  • Sauces can be prepared in advance and heated on-site
  • Must turn in six portions of each item to be judged.

Participation Rules:

  • Registration fee $175
  • KCBS Membership is not required to participate
  • Water will be provided but you will have to walk to retrieve it
  • No alcohol may be sold to the public
  • No Pets are allowed on site
  • Violation of the rules are cause for immediate disqualification with no refunds
  • If you are interested in selling BBQ at the event you will have to contact the Cass County Health department and pay the $150 permit cost. We can help you with this.


Definition for Backyard Cook Team

A.  Any member of the team who has not entered in and competed in more than twelve (12) sanctioned “Master Series” BBQ competitions in the past and;

B.  Any person who has been a member of a team who has not been awarded a Grand Champion or Reserve Champion status in any KCBS Sanctioned “Master Series” competition and;

C.  Any member of the team who has competed in three (3) or less “Master Series BBQ competitions within the current competition year.

 If any member of the team has entered in and competed in more than twelve (12) sanctioned “Master Series” BBQ competitions in the past, they are ineligible to participate in the Backyard competition. Any person who was a member of a team who has competed in three (3) or less “Master Series” BBQ competitions within one (1) competition year may be considered a backyard cook and may declare or revert to such status. This includes the Chief Cook and/or Assistant Cooks. The only exclusion to this rule would be those judges cooking with a team to qualify for master judge status. Individuals who feel they have extenuating circumstances may appeal to the KCBS Sanctioning committed or their designee for reconsideration as an backyard cook. Those requests must be made in writing within 90 days of the competition in question.