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Bowie Festival competition gets national exposure

Barbecue cooks from the Miss-Lou and across the country, above, competed in the 2012 Jim Bowie Barbecue Throwdown. Cooks this year will be joined by Diva Dimovski and her television crew filming the event for the Travel Channel.
Barbecue cooks from the Miss-Lou and across the country, above, competed in the 2012 Jim Bowie Barbecue Throwdown. Cooks this year will be joined by Diva Dimovski and her television crew filming the event for the Travel Channel.

When Miss-Lou residents chow down on barbecue at the Jim Bowie Festival and Barbecue Throwdown, they might want to be a little neater than usual — a sauce-stained chin just might end up on national television.

The show BBQ Crawl, hosted by Diva Q Pittmaster — otherwise known as Danielle Dimovski — will be filming at the festival as Dimovski competes in the barbecue throwdown, which is the Kansas City Barbecue Society-sanctioned Louisiana State Championship and is set for Sept. 27 and 28 at the Rivervew RV Park in Vidalia.

Ann Westmoreland, who helps organize the barbecue contest for the festival, said Diva Q decided to come to Vidalia after seeing how aggressively the Jim Bowie Festival has marketed.

“This show films across the South, but this is the first time they will come to Louisiana,” Westmoreland said.

“Years ago my dad used to barbecue, and my dad and I were very, very close, and because of that I am very passionate about (the contest), and I have put this festival on any barbecue website you can get on.”

Dimovski is the highest-ranked Canadian competitive barbecuer on the Kansas City Barbecue Society team listing. She was also featured on two seasons of BBQ Pitmasters on TLC. BBQ Crawl airs at 8 p.m. Wednesdays on the Travel Channel.

But the Canadian film and barbecue team will hardly be the only competitors at the festival. Westmoreland said as of last week the contest had 14 teams registered, twice the number for the same week last year.

And while some big-time barbecue teams with members who spend thousands of dollars on their equipment are expected to join in, even the local little guys can participate.

“This contest is going to be double-blind judging, so you don’t have to have a big to-do to do it,” Westmoreland said.

Because the contest is the Louisiana state championship, the barbecuer who wins would be eligible to go to the national championship and will earn the potential for an invitation to the Jack Daniels World Championship Invitational in Lynchberg, Tenn., Westmoreland said.

Meat inspection for the contest will be at 8 a.m. Sept. 27, and judging will follow at noon the next day.

While plenty of mouth-watering barbecue will be cooking that weekend, Westmoreland said contest participants won’t be able to sell it. For those who just can’t stand the sight of an uneaten brisket, however, vendors will be at the festival selling barbecue for the masses.

The festival isn’t just about barbecue, though, and Concordia Parish Chamber President Ouida Pecanty said the day’s offerings are geared toward drawing people from across the region.

“This festival is a gathering to bring the communities together and visit and have fun, and it gives the children a reason to get out and run one more time after school starts,” she said. “They will get this out of their system before they settle in for the fall.”

The festival is set to coincide with the Concordia Parish Drug Abuse Resistance Education fishing tournament and will have skeet shooting and archery competitions, a small cooking contest sponsored by the Concordia Parish 4-H, a pet show, the Little Mr. and Miss Jim Bowie Pageant, a mechanical bull riding contest, a hamster water ball and a mobile bungee jump, among other things Chamber Director Jamie Wiley said.

Historical re-enactor Jack Edmonston will recreate Jim Bowie’s famous sandbar knife fight, from which the festival draws its namesake, at 10:30 a.m. Sept 28.

Musical entertainment for the event includes:

• Belle Plain Revival

• Trent Lejune and Doubletime

• Scratch

• Natchez Backroads Band

“At the festival people will hear some fantastic music, and we are always happy to have a wide variety of music,” Pecanty said. “We will have everything from a dance band, country and western, classic rock to some good old Cajun Zydeco music.”

The lead singer of Belle Plain Revival, Garrett Bryan, is from the Monterey-Jonesville area, she said.

“(Bryan) has a huge draw of younger people who are in their teens and early 20s,” Pecanty said. “We are hoping to draw from the Monterey and Acme areas because we are the Concordia Chamber.”

Starting at 7 p.m. Saturday evening, the musical entertainment will be a live broadcast of Solid Gold Saturday Night with Country Boy Mark Porter. That event will have a separate $10 entry fee.

Entry for Sept. 27 and 28 is $5 both days. Those who want to buy a weekend pass — which includes the Solid Gold Saturday Night show — may pay $15.