KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The American Royal Association announced the induction of three legendary barbecue professionals to its Barbecue Hall of Fame for 2018. This year’s inductees include Norma Francis “Tootsie” Tomanetz (Snow’s BBQ), George “Tuffy” Stone (Cool Smoke and Q Barbeque) and Charlie Vergos (Rendezvous), who is being inducted posthumously. A formal induction ceremony will be held Sept. 15 during the 2018 American Royal World Series of Barbecue at the Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas.

According to the American Royal Association, “Each year, three individuals are awarded the prestigious honor and are recognized by the Barbecue Hall of Fame for their significant contributions to the barbecue community and demonstration of achievement in barbecue excellence.”

Tuffy Stone, 2018 Barbecue Hall of Fame Inductee
Tuffy Stone

Stone is a decorated championship pitmaster, with 41 Grand Championships to his credit, as well as the founder of Q Barbeque in Richmond, Virginia; operator of Sharper Palate catering company; and a respected barbecue judge and celebrity chef.

Charlie Vergos, 2018 Barbecue Hall of Fame inductee
Charlie Vergos

Vergos, who passed away in 2010, is credited with creating “Memphis Style Ribs” at The Rendezvous restaurant where his famous dry ribs were created by grilling close to the fire for over an hour, establishing the downtown Memphis restaurant as a world-famous dining destination.

Francis “Tootsie” Tomanetz, 2018 Barbecue Hall of Fame inductee
Francis “Tootsie” Tomanetz

At 82, Tomanetz is a 2018 James Beard Award semifinalist and an award-winning pitmaster at Lexington, Texas-based Snow’s BBQ, recognized by many as the best barbecue in Texas and beyond.

Her career in barbecue began when she was just 31 and it continues today, at a legendary restaurant that is known for its long lines of customers who know the eatery is only open on Saturdays, until it sells out of barbecue.

The 2018 class joins 18 barbecue legends already in the hall of fame, including: “Famous Dave” Anderson, Melissa Cookston, Johnny Trigg, Chris Lilly, Guy Fieri, Ardie Davis and Myron Mixon.