McHenry to host professional-level championship during Blues, Brews & BBQ’s

McHENRY – Barbecue fanatics can start warming up their grills to prepare for McHenry’s inaugural cook-off sanctioned by Kansas City Barbeque Society in August.

The event will be Aug. 20 during the Blues, Brews & BBQ’s festival.

Organizers have created a partnership with the Kansas City Barbeque Society to host the professional-level sanctioned state championship. KCBS is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting barbecue and sanctions more than 500 barbecue contests across the world.

“We’re thrilled to add McHenry to our list of state champ-producing Illinois locations,” KCBS representative Anthony Moore said. “Teams spend the night on-site because some cook their meats for 14-plus hours.”

The McHenry Rotary Club held its own barbecue competition in years’ past, but club co-chairman Don Tonyan said the Rotary wanted to bring it to another level.

“We wanted to get our competition more consistent and make it a quality event and attract people on a national basis,” Tonyan said. “We did a lot of research, and we thought that the Kansas City Barbeque Society was a cool thing to partner with.”

Last year, Tonyan, who owns the McHenry indoor theater building, said he visited a KCBS-sanctioned event with event co-chairwoman Donna Schaefer, and they both liked what they saw.

“It should be exciting and bring some national attention to good old McHenry,” Tonyan said.

The cost to participate is $250 to $300 a team, and the event will include $5,000 in prize money, with the grand champion receiving $1,250. There also will be cash prizes for the best chicken, ribs, pork and brisket.

The competition is limited to 36 teams.

Blues Brews and BBQ’s is the McHenry Rotary Club’s biggest fundraising event of the year. The event is scheduled from Aug. 18 to 20 at Petersen Park, 4300 Petersen Park Road, McHenry.

The festival features blues artists, barbecue and other food vendors along with a variety of craft beer.

Admission is $10 at the gate, and proceeds will go to a number of causes, including scholarships; area food and diaper bank support; global disaster relief efforts; and direct grants to local agencies such as TLS Veterans and Public Action to Deliver Shelter.

Barbecue contest sign-up forms can be found at

For information, call Tonyan at 815-482-0746 or Schaefer at 815-482-8805.

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