River’s Edge to cook up barbecue championships
June 7, 2011
The Kansas City Barbecue Society’s annual Utah State Championships is moving to Heber this year.
The event has been held at Snowbird and has attracted an average of 12,000 people annually. Three years ago, KCBS approached John Kenworthy at River’s Edge at Deer Park.
"I wasn’t ready to host the event, because we were still developing the park, but I promised them I would contact them once we got things finished," Kenworthy said during an interview. "We agreed that if they didn’t have a venue this year, then we’d start getting this thing together."
Kenworthy called KCBS after wrapping up the park’s renovation and the deal was made for River’s Edge to host Smoke on the River, the 2011 KCBS Utah State Championships June 10 through June 12.
Cooks will compete for $9,000 in cash prizes and the winner will get a chance to enter the 2011 Jack Daniels World Championship Invitational Barbecue Competition in Lynchburg, Tenn., later this year.
"Snowbird used the event to kick off their summer season, so I tried to keep it the same time of year in order for the Salt Lake crowds to come up and enjoy it like they did when they went to Snowbird," Kenworthy said.
The cook off will feature between 40 to 50 sanctioned judges and 25 to 30 competitors, three of which Tommy’s Texas BBQ’s Tommy Carpenter, R&R’s Roger and Rod Livingston and Little Piggy’s Chris Simpson hail from Utah.
"The teams will roll in on Thursday and meet with the judges and the cook off will begin Friday around 5 p.m.," Kenworthy said.
Attendees will enjoy samples of barbecue from the Smoke on the River competition, and samples from the Backyard BBQ Amateur Competition, he said.
In addition to the cooking, there will be a children’s park that will include blow-up trampolines, a mechanical bull, wall climbing, face painting and wagon rides along the river.
"We’re also going to have a professional 40-foot long stage that rises six to eight feet off the grass for our musical entertainment," Kenworthy said. "The musical acts will start at 4 p.m. on Friday."
Stampede, Holy Water Buffalo and headliner Justin McBride will be part of the entertainment.
"Justin is a two time, world-champion bull rider," Kenworthy said. "He was named the Professional Bull Riders Association Cowboy of the Year. He retired from riding two years ago because his passion for music took over. Now he’s making his mark on the country-music scene, and his new song is ‘God Lives in Oklahoma’ and is starting to climb the charts."
Also, Great Basin Wildlife Rehabilitation will use the stage to release a barn owl into the wild on Saturday, June 11, at dusk, Kenworthy said.
KCBS chose River’s Edge because of the space, Kenworthy said.
"We sit on about 40 acres," he said. "I purchased the park and got the historic campground zoning restored, after it had stalled 15 years ago. We brought in the sewer lines from the new water treatment plant, and various state government agencies helped reswirled the river and put the wetlands back in, so the birdlife has returned.
"I’m looking forward to the event and see it as the River’s Edge summer grand opening," he said. "I’m hoping to attract those people who haven’t traveled down Highway 40 since they built the Jordanelle Dam. I’d love them to see what we have done, and hope they rediscover the rehabilitation of the mid-Provo river."
Smoke on the River, the 2011 Kansas City Barbecue Society’s Utah State Championship will be held at the River’s Edge at Deer Park, 7000 N. Old Hwy 40, Heber, on June 10 through 12 Gates will open at noon and the cooking will begin at 5 p.m. Live music, featuring headliner Justin McBride will begin around 4 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $10 for adult and $5 for teens. VIP seats are available for $15 and $20. For more information about the event or to purchase tickets call (435) 654-4049 or visit http://www.riversedgeatdeerpark.com , http://www.icketcake.com and http://www.smithstix.com.