New home for 'World Series of Barbecue'

by Erica Shaffer
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The American Royal World Series of Barbecue is relocating to the parking lot of Arrowhead Stadium, home to the National Football League’s Kansas City Chiefs. The livestock show and other American Royal events will remain at the West Bottoms location.

“We’ve been looking for ways to expand for years,” said Mariner Kemper, former American Royal chairman and CEO of UMB, presenting sponsor of the barbecue. “This pairing of Kansas City icons can only be beneficial for all concerned.”

The American Royal is held Oct. 1-4. The annual barbecue contest and livestock show ranks as a premier event on the competitive barbecue circuit. The World Series of Barbecue started 36 years ago in the parking lot of the now-closed Golden Ox Restaurant.

“We’ve enjoyed many great years in the West Bottoms,” said John Mitchell, Jr., chairman, American Royal. “However, to continue to enhance the American Royal’s World Series of Barbecue for all competitors and patrons, we must go.

“We couldn’t be more excited to partner with Arrowhead Stadium at the Truman Sports Complex,” he added. The Truman Sports Complex includes Kauffman Stadium, home to Major League Baseball’s Kansas City Royals.

Mitchell said the parking lot around Arrowhead Stadium, where the teams will be located, provides more space and will allow the American Royal to “elevate the experience for competitive teams, ultimately creating a better experience for customers and patrons alike.”

“This move fuels our mission,” he explained. “It’s about providing an exceptional Kansas City barbecue experience that promotes agrarian values, education in agriculture and scholarship opportunities for kids.” In 2014, for example, the Royal gave $1.4 million in scholarship and educational awards.

Carolyn Wells, co-founder and executive director, Kansas City Barbeque Society said the American Royal is the “crown jewel” of the KCBS Sanctioned Contest Network.

“Kansas City has earned its reputation at the epicenter of the barbecue universe, and this union will only reinforce that reputation,” she added.

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