Small Town Brings National Competitors

Nearly 2,500 people attended this year’s Icebox Cook-Off from July 5-6. This year’s event continued at the normal location with a different event organizer, Sweet Events.

Sweet Events, an arm of SHEDG, is trying to bring some more things and events to Sweet Home. This year they took over the Icebox Cook off. Friday, July 5, was hospitality night and Saturday, July 6 was the people’s choice night. Both days were open to the public, with Sunday, July 7 being the main contest scored by the Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS) and being private. 

The days open to the public gave the pitmasters the opportunity to have their freedoms of cooking things they thought the crowd would like. One even described this as carnival cooking.

Booths were lined up around the Radiator Supply Houses’ pond, selling samples and speaking with attendees. 

“Turn out was a little light,” Festival Director Robert Shamek said. “A lot of patrons decided to stay in their air conditioned homes, and I don’t blame them.” 

Although the event was light, 42 pitmasters from all across the country attended this event, regardless of the Excessive Heat Warning given by the National Weather Service. 

“Despite the heat, we still saw growth,” Oregon Jamboree’s Marketing Director Katie Schrock said. “I couldn’t imagine how big it would’ve been if the heat wasn’t 100. Makes it really exciting for the future.”

“When you bring 40 pitmasters to one location, you are guaranteed to eat some amazing barbeque,” Shamek said. “Everyone that was there had a smile on their face.” 

Shamek stated not many of these pitmasters were actually from Oregon. The majority of attending pitmasters were from states including Utah, Texas, Washington and California. Jason Dresser, a vendor for the event, stated he does this for fun. Last week, he was in Las Vegas and usually participates in other competitions where he lives, in Utah. He attended roughly 10-12 of these annually.

Another pitmaster, not a competitor, flew in from Brazil. Melvin Chmilar was that pitmaster, who helped put on the front-end of the event. The front end event included bear, cougar, steer, alligators, ram and lambs which were all cooked, and put into tacos for attendees. 

Throughout the event, there were a total of five bands who played music. 

The closed part of the event was truly busy for the pitmasters. Most had to cook throughout the night to get plates ready for the judges. 

A competitor, Dirk Anderson, stated how much he enjoyed attending various events including backyard competitions. This was his third year attending the Icebox Cook-Off.

“A lot of people just like to cook and have fun,” he said. 

The people’s choice award contest ended with Blues Q’s BBQ & Catering taking first place, and walking home with a $1,400 cash prize followed by a $10,000 firework show. The rest of the results, judged by KCB are as follows: 

First place, Small Axe BBQ [Portland, Oregon] total points, 699.9656

Second place, Cynical BBQ [unknown] total points, 697.0512

Third place, Slingin Meats [Cedar Hills, Utah] total points, 693.0396

Fourth place, Rob’s Smokin’ and Grillin’ BBQ [Lacey, Washington] total points, 691.3828

Fifth place, Smokin’ Timbers Northwest [unknown, Oregon] total points, 691.3712

Sixth place, POPS BBQ [San Jose, California] total points, 688.5716

Seventh place, Smokin’ Bliss BBQ [Rocklin, California] total points, 688.5488

Eighth place, Slow Porkin’ BBQ [Kirkland, Washington] total points, 688.4568

Ninth place, Mr. Green’s BBQ [unknown] total points, 687.9888

Tenth place, LC BBQ [unknown, Texas] total points, 687.9200