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The biggest news in the world of competition BBQ in 2015 had nothing to do with the winner of a particular contest, the rise of the table of death or the angel table, or even the race for Team of the Year. In 2015, competition BBQ’s biggest story was the American Royal moving from the West Bottoms to Arrowhead Stadium.


The American Royal, the largest competition in the world of competitive BBQ and one of its most prestigious contests, began 36 years ago in the parking lot of the Golden Ox Restaurant in the West Bottoms. “We’ve enjoyed many great years in the West Bottoms. However, to continue to enhance the American Royal’s World Series of Barbecue for all competitors and patrons, we must go,” said John Mitchell, Jr., chairman, American Royal. “We couldn’t be more excited to partner with Arrowhead Stadium at the Truman Sports Complex.”

 “The American Royal is the crown jewel of the KCBS Sanctioned Contest Network. Kansas City has earned its reputation at the epicenter of the BBQ universe, and this union will only reinforce that reputation,” said Carolyn Wells, co-founder and executive director, Kansas City Barbeque Society. This years contest had 618 teams from 39 states and three countries, a sizable increase over the 562 teams hat competed in 2014. It is clear from the numbers that the move did nothing to hurt the contest, and may have helped to enhance it. In addition to the increased space, teams and attendees were provided with increased entertainment opportunities, including a concert by country starts Big & Rich, additional food options from the likes of KC’s own Plowboys’s Barbeque and Zarda Bar-B-Q, and a carnival with a ride and gigantic Jenga and Beer Pong games. 

I’ve got to include my favorite picture from this years American Royal – here’s my son Hudson (5 month’s old at the Royal) and I inside Arrowhead Stadium getting ready for awards.


2016 is likely to be another interesting year of change for the American Royal as it is likely the event will have to move from its traditional first weekend in October dates due to the World Champion Kansas City Royals playing home games that weekend across the parking lot at Kaufman Stadium. 

Leave a comment on this post and let us know how you liked the Royal’s new home at Arrowhead.

On December 28th we’ll unveil the 3rd biggest BBQ Story of 2015. The biggest BBQ Story of 2015 will be announced on December 30th.

To date we’ve announced the 5th through 10th biggest BBQ Story of 2015. 

#5 – You Don’t Know Jack, But Tuffy Stone Does – Cool Smoke Wins Second Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue

#6 – Merry Christmas Year Round, BBQ Gives Back

#7 – On Top of the World, BBQ Wins World Food Championships

#8 – Fire Up The Grill, Steak Cookoff Popularity Sizzles

#9 – Out of the Ashes Dave Anderson Rises With Old Southern BBQ Smokehouse

#10 – BBQ Continues To Be A Force On TV

Come back tomorrow and we’ll announce the #3 BBQ Story of 2015.