Lionel Cunningham, with the Florida Skin & Bones team, grills racks of ribs to sell during the Colorado BBQ Championship on Saturday at Wyman Museum. Cunningham said the team brought 400 racks of ribs to serve at the event.

Photo by Shawn McHugh

Lionel Cunningham, with the Florida Skin & Bones team, grills racks of ribs to sell during the Colorado BBQ Championship on Saturday at Wyman Museum. Cunningham said the team brought 400 racks of ribs to serve at the event.

2 Craig area cooks win awards alongside national BBQ talent

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Adrian Nelson, of Craig, prepares his brisket a few moments before turning it in for judging Saturday during the Colorado BBQ Championship at the Wyman Museum. Nelson earned fourth place honors in the chicken category.

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Zach Bergstrom, left, his 16-month-old child, Lexington, and his wife, Stephanie, sit in the grass while eating during the Colorado BBQ Championship on Saturday at the Wyman Museum. More than 30 teams from around the country competed in the Kansas City BBQ Association-sanctioned event.

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Johnny Trigg and his wife, Peggy, won the grand champion trophy Saturday during the Colorado BBQ Championship at Wyman Museum. Trigg’s team, Smokin’ Triggers, of Alvarado, Texas, is the only two-time winner at the Jack Daniels BBQ contest in Tennessee.

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Madison Laman, left, 6, and her sister, Kassadi, 7, climb up the bouncy wall during the Colorado BBQ Championship on Saturday at Wyman Museum. There was also a hay-maze, face-painting, camel rides, fishing pool and a create-your-own-BBQ-sauce station to entertain the children.

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Matt Provost, left, shows a plate of brisket to judge Terry Conci during the Colorado BBQ Championship on Saturday at Wyman Museum. Food was judged based on appearance, tenderness and taste.

Colorado State BBQ Championships winners

Award winners at the first Colorado State BBQ Championship in Craig:

Overall:

• First — Smokin’ Triggers (Johnny Trigg)

• Second — Piggys Going Postal

Chicken:

• First — R & R BBQ

• Second — Dead Last BBQ

• Third — Casual Cookers

• Fourth — Adrian Nelson

• Fifth — Dragon Smoke

• Sixth — Gque

• Seventh — Coeoters Country Catering

• Eighth — Big Hole BBQ

• Ninth — Smokin’ Triggers

• 10th — Thought Sausage

Pork ribs:

• First — Piggys Going Postal

• Second — Dragon Smoke

• Third — OOPS

• Fourth — Jo-Bawb’s BBQ

• Fifth — Gque

• Sixth — Wolfy & the Hog Heaters

• Seventh — Rub ‘em Raw

• Eighth — Smokin’ Triggers

• Ninth — Utah Smoke

• 10th — Skin & Bones

Pork:

• First — Piggys Going Postal

• Second — Lutz’s BBQ

• Third — Smokin’ Triggers

• Fourth — Skin & Bones

• Fifth — Swinestone Cowboys BBQ

• Sixth — Smokin 101

• Seventh — Wicked Chicken BBQ

• Eighth — Rub ‘em Raw

• Ninth — R & R BBQ

• 10th — Big Hole BBQ

Brisket:

• First — Smokin’ Triggers

• Second — Lutz’s BBQ

• Third — Casual Cookers

• Fourth — OOOPS

• Fifth — Flyboy BBQ

• Sixth — Cooters Country Catering

• Seventh — Gque

• Eighth — Piggys Going Postal

• Ninth — R & R BBQ

• 10th — Smokin’ 101

After days of cooking, winners of the first Colorado State BBQ Championship were announced Saturday afternoon at the Wyman Museum in Craig.

Among the winners were two local teams: Smokin’ 101 of Meeker and Adrian Nelson of Craig.

Smokin’ 101 won two awards — sixth place in the pork category and 10th place for brisket.

Nelson, who works in the parts department at Tri-State Generation & Transmission, was awarded $100 for his fourth-place finish in the chicken category.

“I knew the chicken was the best thing I’d cooked today,” said Nelson, 37. “Did I think it would win fourth place? No, but I’m happy.”

Nelson, who has competed in seven contests, is no stranger to winning.

“I took first place at the Moffat County Fair (contest) last year, and I took second this year,” he said.

The win Saturday is quite special, Nelson said.

“This was my first time at a Kansas City BBQ Society-sanctioned contest,” he said.

The Craig barbecue contest drew an estimated 2,200 people Friday and Saturday, as well as 33 teams from around the country.

According to “A Spectator’s Guide to Competition Barbecue,” a book by the Kansas City BBQ Society’s Bob Sammons, there are “uniform rules (and) procedures” for the more than 300 events the society sanctions each year.

The society, through its “rigorous training” of judges and “double-blind” taste tests serves as the gold standard for judging barbecue, according to the guide.

Something else that made Nelson’s win exceptional, he said, was competing against a national contestant like Johnny Trigg.

Trigg, 71, of Alvarado, Tex., started cooking in 1990, and he enters 45 contests per year.

With several appearances on The Learning Channel’s “BBQ Pitmasters” television series and more trophies than he cares to count, Trigg is a celebrity among barbecue enthusiasts.

On Saturday, he was declared the best overall cooker in Craig and awarded the $3,500 grand prize.

“It feels wonderful,” Trigg said of his victory. “It always feels wonderful to win.”

Reserve champions at Saturday’s event, Piggys Going Postal, were upbeat about their second-place award.

“To lose to a two-time national champion by just a few points is phenomenal,” said Dan Simons, team leader. “We’re absolutely thrilled.”

Simons is the co-manager and partial owner of World West Limited Liability Company, which owns the Craig Daily Press and Steamboat Pilot & Today.

Gene Goycochea, a barbecue society judge involved in Saturday’s decisions, praised Trigg for his overall cooking skills in competitions.

“Consistently, the cream rises to the top,” he said.

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