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Today we continue the countdown of the Most Influential People in BBQ with the 11th most influential person in BBQ. Coming in as the 11th Most Influential Person in BBQ is co-founder of Operation BBQ Relief, Stan Hays.


Stan Hays isn’t a household name to most outside the BBQ community and even if you asked a sampling of folks within the BBQ community you might get a fair number of blank stares. What Hays lacks in name identity he makes up for in impact on America’s communities that find themselves in need after devastating disasters like tornadoes or hurricanes. Hays is Co-founder and Executive Director of Operation BBQ Relief, better known as OBR. Operation BBQ Relief is a 501(c)3 organization founded in May 2011 in response to the devastation a multi-vortex EF5 tornado brought upon Joplin, Missouri. The tornado left a path of destruction six miles long and over half a mile wide and is on the records as the second deadliest tornado in U.S. history with more than 140 people being killed.   



Hays, pitmaster of County Line Smokers, joined forces with Jeff Stith of Big Creek BBQ and Will Cleaver of Sticks N Chicks BBQ, called upon fellow competition BBQ teams to help feed  displaced families and emergency personnel responding to the tragedy. In less than two weeks, Hays and the teams he had organized served over 120,000 meals. Since it was founded in May 2011, OBR has responded to the nations worst natural disasters including  Hurricane Sandy and the Moore, OK tornadoes.

We are big supports of OBR and think it is important to share their Vision, Mission and Values with you:

Our Vision:

The vision of Operation BBQ Relief is that all people involved in relief efforts during natural disasters will understand the true meaning of compassion for those who have lost possessions and loved ones and that they will further utilize all of their God-given skills and abilities to better the lives of those affected.

Our Mission:

The mission of Operation BBQ Relief is to provide compassion and to offer hope and friendship to those whose lives have been affected by natural disasters across the United States through our expertise in cooking and catering barbecue meals and our ability to quickly mobilize our teams into any area where nature disrupts and tears apart the lives of Americans.

Our Values:

We value honesty, compassion, friendship, hard work and respect for others and for resources with which we are provided. Decisions and actions of Operation BBQ Relief will always be made and carried out with these values in mind. We want the communities we serve to be able to state without reservation that Operation BBQ Relief upheld these values while making a positive impact in the lives of their citizens.

With Hays as their leader, Operation BBQ Relief has impacted the lives of millions of Americans when they were in their most vulnerable state. The sight of a warm plate of BBQ won’t bring back a lost family member or a destroyed house, but it does allow for the grieving to understand they aren’t alone and know that things will improve. We’re sure Hays himself hopes that his influence wains over time with less need for OBR’s relief efforts, but knowing that each year will bring new tragedies we’re happy to know that Hays and his OBR team will be among the first on the scene serving meals and handing out hugs and encouragement.  

If you would like to donate to OBR please click here.  

On December 23rd we’ll unveil the 9th most influential person in BBQ. We’ll unveil a new member of our Most Influential Person in BBQ List each day through the end of the year and we’ll crown The Most Influential Person in BBQ on Tuesday, December 31st.

To date we’ve previously unveiled the 11th through the 25th Most Influential People in BBQ.

11th – Steven Raichlen, Cookbook Author & TV Host

12th – Jamie Geer, Jambo Pits

13th – Dave Raymond, Sweet Baby Ray’s

14th – Aaron Franklin, Franklin BBQ

15th – Chris Lilly, Big Bob Gibson BBQ

16th – Sterling Ball, Big Poppa Smokers

17th – Rod Gray, Pellet Envy & Eat Barbecue

18th – Brad Orrison, The Shed

19th – Johnny Trigg, Smokin’ Triggers

20th – Danielle Dimovski, BBQ Crawl & Diva Q

21st – Bill Arnold, Blues Hog Barbecue Company

22nd – Competition BBQ Judge

23rd – Melissa Cookston, Memphis Barbecue Co. & Yazoo’s Delta Q

24th – Adam Perry Lang, Daisy May’s BBQ, Barbecoa & Cookbook Author

25th – Ronnie Cates, Smoke on the Water Productions

Will you make the list? Will someone you find deserving fall short of the top 25? Will you disagree with someone listed in the top 25? Check the Pork Barrel BBQ Blog daily now through December 31 and contribute to the discussion by adding comments to each days post!

Who is the most Influential Person in BBQ? Find out on December 31, 2013 when we reveal the Most Influential Person in BBQ.