The smell of ribs, brisket and other meats will fill downtown Amarillo from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday during the 22nd annual Amarillo Chamber Good Times Celebration Barbecue Cook-Off.
One of the staples of late Summer in downtown Amarillo, the cook-off attracts thousands to South Polk Street and 10th Avenue to mingle, network, eat, drink and watch cooking teams compete for yearly bragging rights in three categories — corporate, professional and amateur.
“We’re expecting right at 100 teams since that’s about how much we have space for,” said Penni Bentley, director of communications for the Amarillo Chamber of Commerce. “We’re landlocked, and it’s so popular that for the last 10 years we’ve been at 100 teams because that’s all we have space for.”
The barbecue, held yearly on the second Thursday of September, attracts more than 6,000 participants and is a major fundraiser for the Chamber of Commerce. Over 200 volunteers help make the yearly event, one of the largest downtown Amarillo gatherings each year, possible.
“The cook-off is one of our activities that allows us to do what we do without raising memberships,” Bentley said.
Tickets — available through Panhandle Tickets, at the Amarillo Civic Center and all United Supermarkets — are $30 in advance and $40 at the gate.
“They need to get tickets before 3 p.m. on Thursday,” Bentley said. “After that, we shut it down and you have to buy at the gate.”
While giving a chance to network, the barbecue also gives area teams an opportunity to not only display cooking skills but also participate in the showmanship contest.
“We’ve had some spirited showmanship contests with costume and creative themes,” Bentley said. “We encourage teams to wear their company logos and network.”