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Today we begin the countdown of the Most Influential People in BBQ with the 25th Most Influential Person in BBQ. Coming in as the 25th Most Influential Person in BBQ is Smoke on the Water Productions President & CEO, Ronnie Cates.

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There can be little argument that the rapid growth of competition barbecue is in large part due to the increased number of competitions popping up throughout the country and the increasing value of the prize purses being offered. No one in the world of barbecue has contributed more to the increase in prize money than Ronnie Cates. His Smoke on the Water Productions is known throughout the sport for promoting premier contests with some of the richest prize purses year after year.

In 2013 Cates’s Smoke on the Water Productions hosted 6 high dollar contests from coast to coast that saw the biggest names in competition barbecue drive hundreds if not thousands of miles for a shot at a life changing payday. These contests included the East Coast’s largest payout at the inaugural Do AC Smokin’ Hot Atlantic City BBQ Championship and the West Coast’s largest payout at the USA Barbecue Championship in Laughlin, NV.

Smoke on the Water

On his Smoke on the Water Productions website Cates says, “It used to be a handful of contests giving away ribbons and a little bit of prize money. We came in and created events for the true professional to compete against the world’s top teams and increased prize money ten fold. Winning one of our events, especially the prestigious USA Barbecue Championship, now guarantees endorsement opportunities and the notoriety that goes with being the world’s best.”

In addition to attracting the best competition barbecue has to offer, Cates’s events are attracting major sponsors and venues to host them which means more money is coming into the sport of professional barbecue and more of that money is trickling down to teams. It’s possible for Cate’s to attract sponsors and prestigious venues because of the festival atmosphere he creates to attract the general public to grilling demonstrations, celebrity cook-off’s, product sampling, live music, food vendors, and much more.

Ronnie Cates is a major influencer in the world of BBQ today and with a goal to host the world’s first million dollar barbecue contest is likely to continue his influence on the world of competition barbecue for years to come.

On December 8th we’ll unveil the 24th Most Influential Person in BBQ. Each day now through December 31st we’ll reveal a new person on our list of the 25 Most Influential People in BBQ until we get to Number 1.

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.