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Bands & BBQ at the Point

KCBS pro cooking
team competition heats up

Madison, Ind., brothers are among the teams to beat

Bands & BBQ at the Point

• Sept. 13-14 at Carrollton, Ky.’s Point Park on the Ohio River
• Information: (502) 732-7036 or visit www.Carrolltontourism.com

CARROLLTON, Ky. (September 2019) – Ten years ago, brothers Gene and Brent Copeland of Madison, Ind., decided to take their hobby of home cooking to the next level when they began competing in barbecue competitions. “We entered Ribberfest, our hometown competition and have been competing ever since,” said Gene Copeland.

The Copelands currently operate Butts-N-Racks BBQ and will be competing at Carrollton, Ky.’s ninth annual Bands and BBQ at the Point event, set for Sept. 13-14. This event offers free admission for all attendees.
Bands and BBQ will offer a full music lineup beginning at 6 p.m. Friday. “We’ll have two bands on Friday – Donnie Wright with Smokin Guns and Jordan Wilson Coalition,” said Misty Wheeler, director of the Carrollton/Carroll County Tourism office.
Music on Saturday will begin at noon. The lineup includes Nick Dittmeier and the Sawdusters, Avery Crabtree, Young Country and Wax Factory. “We have quite a variety of music. There’s something for everybody,” said Wheeler.
Other events at Bands and BBQ include two Rolling Thunder Airshows with Madison aerobatic pilot Cliff Robinson, a tractor show and a fireworks show on Saturday night. This year will also see the addition of a Handcrafted and Homespun Market from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. “We’ll also have inflatables for the kids who attend, and the splash park at Point Park will be open,” said Wheeler.
Attendees will have the option of purchasing adult beverages from Kentucky-based breweries, distilleries and wineries like West Sixth Brewing, Neely Family Distillery, Elk Creek Winery and Eagle Creek Winery. There will also be a variety of barbecue and food vendors on Friday and Saturday. “We have some new vendors this year, and most of our vendors will be selling barbecue,” said Wheeler.
One of the main draws of this event is the competition. There are two barbecue competitions at Bands and BBQ. One is sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society, and the other is a backyard competition, Wheeler explained. Both competitions will be held on Saturday, and competitors will have the opportunity to compete for more than $9,000 in prize money.
Copeland said that this is their third or fourth year competing at Bands & BBQ. Butts-N-Racks competes in 10-12 competitions a year. “We compete mostly in Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio,” he said. “All the friends you make and the camaraderie are our favorite part. There are a lot of good people in barbecue. It’s fun to arrive early at the competitions to spend time with friends,” said Copeland.

Photo provided

(From left) Gene and Brent Copeland of Butts-N-Racks BBQ in Madison, Ind.,  turned their love of competition into a catering business. They are regulars at the Bands & BBQ at the Point pro cooking competition.

The Copeland’s have been able to find success in competition. “We’ve had the most luck and consistency with ribs. We do find that every competition is different. Flavor profiles change; the judges change,” he said. “One of our top honors was winning first place for our ribs at the Jim Beam BBQ Classic in 2018.”
The Copelands decided to expand on their love of cooking and competition by transforming their barbecue into a business. “We cater and vend at different events,” said Copeland. He said that those interested in having Butts-N-Racks at their event can locate them on their Facebook page.
Wheeler said that teams are still welcome to register for both barbecue competitions at Bands and BBQ. Teams can either register at www.visitcarrolltonky.com or email Wheeler at director@carrolltontourism.com.

She said that teams often find the competition at Bands and BBQ to be a relaxing and fun experience. “Our venue at Point Park is beautiful. We’re along both the Ohio and Kentucky Rivers. A lot of our teams say that they love cooking here,” she said. “We’re excited for our returning teams and to see some familiar faces, as well as welcoming some new teams and making new friends.”

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