Kids Que to Host FREE Cooking Class in Dothan

Academy Sports+Outdoors is pleased to host two cooking classes for kids in the weeks leading up to PorktoberQue. The first one will be September 13 at their Dothan store, and professional chef Joe Whaley will show kids the importance of food safety, basic grilling information and seasoning tips and tricks. All kids who come to the free class will be entered into a drawing that day for a $100 Academy Sports+Outdoors gift card. This is a good chance to take the kids out for a free activity 9/13/14 from 1-3pm and support our sponsors of PorktoberQue!

Pet Parade Announced for PorktoberQue

Who doesn’t love a good pet parade? The cute costumes, the furry little faces, and the joy that the crowd feels are all the elements of a good pet parade, and we hope to bring all of that to PorktoberQue this year. CHARM (City of Headland Animal Rescue Mission) will be hosting the pet parade and invite all animals to participate. The rules are simple: Your dog should be friendly to other dogs, your dog must be on a shirt leash (no retractable leashes) and you must bring a baggie to pick up any waste your dog leaves behind.

Registration for the “PorktoberQue Polka, Pigs, Pints and Pups Pet Parade” begins Saturday September 27th outside the main gate. CHARM will have a table set up for registration from 10:00 until 10:30 AM. At this time the workers will line up the pets and get ready for the 11:00 pet parade throughout the PorktoberQue fairgrounds. The registration fee, payable the day of the event, is $10 and provides for two admission tickets for the humans as well as the pet. 100% of the registration fee raised goes to CHARM and their work in helping find forever homes to animals in need.

Although costumes are not required, feel free to dress yourself and/or your pet up in an Oktoberfest themed costume, or one representing fall or your favorite holiday. This is going to be a fun event we hope to grow each year. For more information on the Pet Parade, call CHARM at (334) 693-9097 or visit

Here is the registration form you can fill out in advance and bring with you to the event!Microsoft Word - Porktoberque Registration.docx

IMG_0271 8431_195898042787_4454152_n 130203_beggin_parade_1-1

Backyard Athletes… Corn Hole Tournament Coming to PorktoberQue!

Are you into that bean bag tossing game popular at tailgate parties and in backyards across the country? If you think you and a partner have the right stuff to compete, then sign up for the Corn Hole in the Wiregrass Tournament, to be held at PorktoberQue September 26-27. Each two person team who registers receives 4 general admission tickets (so you can both come out Friday to practice and Saturday to compete) and gets entered into the tournament. Competition play is Saturday at 3pm with awards to immediately follow. All proceeds benefit youth athletics and the Dothan High School Cross Country team. For more information call Mike at 334-797-3668

cornhole application

Saturday Performer Coming From Birmingham

We are pleased to present on the main stage Saturday September 27th at 3pm Raquel Lily. This fantastic performer with her band will be a great addition to the PorktoberQue line up, and this group plays out all over the Birmingham Alabama music scene.
Recently, the city of Birmingham asked for performers to write an original song about Birmingham in their local songwriting contest. This is the song and video Raquel Lily came up with: (here’s the youtube link if it doesn’t play below )

We think you’ll love Raquel Lily when you meet her at PorktoberQue!  


Is Dothan the Only Alabama City To Do This?

Hosting a professional barbecue competition is no easy task. Before even registering the first team, an organizer needs to secure a venue large enough to hold dozens of teams, and needs to make sure that each team site has adequate power and water for the weekend. At the site, a building or secure area has to be near the cook team sites for the judging of the entries. The venue also has to be large enough to accommodate spectators, ancillary activities, vendors and parking for everyone involved, including the judges.

Next, the event organizer then needs to come up with the prize money, which has to be guaranteed for most sanctioning bodies. Many times the sponsoring body putting on the contest (City or Civic Group sometimes) fronts the money, but most often it’s a charity group holding the event. In this case, they would typically go solicit sponsors to raise the money needed to hold the event.

Once a purse for the contest is determined, the contest is given a name and logo (traditionally featuring a pink pig) and the event organizer applies for sanctioning from one of the several sanctioning bodies in the United States. It is with the blessing of the sanctioning body that the organizer can begin the process of soliciting teams and judges, which realistically accounts for 95% of the actual competition.

Teams historically tend to wait until as late as possible to part with their entry fee. Judges typically send in their entry form as soon as possible to secure a spot. Judges want to know as soon as possible if they will judge the competition, as many travel great distances at their own expense to judge. This paradox often leads to having fifty judges and eight teams around two months before the competition. Teams will, quite literally, show up the day of the competition and ask if they can have a spot. Most organizers will say yes, because that’s extra income for the event, but it throws the judging ratios into chaos. Most sanctioning bodies require six judges and a table captain, or seven certified judges, per six teams entered, so you can imaging the calculations happening the morning of a contest if extra teams have been added.

If the barbecue competition also holds a festival in conjunction with the cook-off, which many do to attract spectators, then there is an entirely separate set of logistics and planning happening. What kind of activities, musical acts, vendors and events for families should all be considered before any type of promotion of the barbecue competition begins. Really, there are two separate events happening during a barbecue festival— a sanctioned barbecue competition involving dozens of teams, judges and representatives from the sanctioning body, and a community festival with entertainment and activities for the general public. It takes a small organized army to do both consecutively.

Planning for any sanctioned, professional barbecue competition should begin at least a year out for an inaugural event, and eight to ten months out for consecutive years. Obtaining sponsors is the item that has to occur the farthest out, as many corporations require up to a year’s notice to consider sponsorship. The months and weeks leading up to the event will require more than a typical forty hour work week to get all of the work done if it is being planned by only one or two designated chairpersons.

For this reason, very few organizations or cities put on more than one sanctioned professional barbecue competition per year. It’s just too time consuming for one thing, and for another, two competitions put on each year by the same group or person would in itself be a full time job. But just don’t tell that to the folks in Dothan, Alabama. They have two sanctioned professional competitions just six months apart from each other, and both are successful events as both competitions and barbecue festivals for the community.

The Tri-State BBQ Festival held the second weekend in spring each year will celebrate its tenth anniversary in 2015. The competition is sanctioned by the Florida Barbecue Association, and draws both professional and backyard contestants. The show was featured on the hit TV series, BBQ Pitmasters in 2012 and drew a record sixty-eight competition teams that year competing for $10,750 in prize money. Competitors have come from as far away as New Mexico, Minnesota, Michigan and Ohio, but most hail from Alabama, Georgia and Florida. 

The Tri-State BBQ Festival is a foodies dream, featuring cooking demonstrations, free samples, a sauce contest, chili cook off and a grilling contest for kids, among the food-related activities. Additionally, there are kids activities, concerts, a car show and many fun family activities all weekend.

PorktoberQue is Dothan’s second sanctioned barbecue competition, now in its third year. It is held on the last weekend of September, the historically preferred weekend for a German Oktoberfest. The Kansas City Barbecue Society sanctioned contest has grown by leaps and bounds since its first year, increasing attendance by 300% and prize money by over 50% in this short period of time. cropped-2014-lores-logo1.jpg

The concept for PorktoberQue combines an Oktoberfest themed festival with a traditional barbecue atmosphere. Although fall beers are featured along with polka bands and German music, the event offers a variety of fun activities for people of all ages. There is a free Reptile Discovery Program geared toward the kids, a dog dock-diving competition for pet lovers, a car show for nostalgia buffs and plenty of food, both German and Southern.

Each of the two events draws thousands of spectators from across the Southeast United States who fill the Houston County Farm Center in Dothan. Though most competition teams camp on site to maintain their barbecue pit temperatures, the judges, spectators and vendors help the local economy by booking rooms in area hotels. By having both of the festivals encompass multiple days, more out of town visitors can enjoy all the activities, music and food of the event.

While Dothan, Alabama may not be Alabama’s largest city, or have more barbecue restaurants than the larger towns, Dothan encompasses the heart and soul of southern barbecue through their commitment to the community and competitors by hosting two barbecue contests a year, a feat no other city in Alabama can claim.


Ultimate Air Dogs coming to PorktoberQue

Ever seen a dog fly? The Ultimate Air Dogs make it a regular habit to fly, leap and sail to new heights and unimaginable distances. If you’ve never seen these dogs and their humans interacting and competing in the Ultimate Air Dog Challenge, you are in luck because they are coming to Dothan September 26-27 for PorktoberQue.

Screen Shot 2014-07-25 at 11.30.13 AM


Ultimate Air Dogs, the premier dock jumping organization in the country, was started in 2005 by former Detroit Tigers pitcher Milt Wilcox and his son Brian. Milt was best know for winning the 3rd game of the 1984 World Series, and comes to the events as emcee and main announcer. His charismatic personality is entertainment in itself, but the real attraction is the dock diving.

Dogs are divided up into divisions according to the distance they can jump. Dogs can be any breed or mix and any size as long as they can swim. A handler will throw the toy into the pool and the dog runs and jumps to catch it. Distance is measured and awards are given. Ultimate Air Dogs has become popular because of the down to earth attitude, the grass-roots background and the ability to make every competitor feel welcome.

Ultimate Air Dogs are going to have a competition at PorktoberQue in Dothan on September 26-27 thanks to the generosity and support of the Lucky Dog Sports Club of the Wiregrass who has made this event possible. Every dog is welcome to sign up for the competition or practice which will introduce your dog to dock jumping, and can do so by registering online at the Ultimate Air Dogs webpage or on site the day of the competition.

It is free to watch the Ultimate Air Dogs dock diving competition, and there will be some seating available near their pool. Spectators may want to bring a lawn chair to ensure they have a seat, though many prefer to stand to see all the activity. The Ultimate Air Dogs competition will be held parallel to the cattle barn at the Houston County Farm Center, near the East entrance to the German-themed Biergarten. PorktoberQue runs from 5-10 pm on Friday September 26 and from 10-6 pm on Saturday September 27 and is an Oktoberfest celebration and barbecue competition that is fun for the whole family. To learn more about the festival visit or call (334) 699-1475.

Can Your Kid Cook a Steak?

PorktoberQue may be the only place in Dothan where a kid aged 8-18 can turn a $10 bill into $29.99 worth of goods PLUS have a chance at winning another $50 on top of that. Academy Sports+Outdoors Kids Que is giving kids a chance to win by showing off their steak grilling skills on Saturday September 27th at the Houston County Farm Center in Dothan. Limited to the first 50 kids to enter, each contestant receives a grill they can keep, charcoal for the competition and 2 steaks to grill (thank you to Fatbacks of Dothan for providing the steaks!)
Contestants only need to turn in one steak (and can eat the other) for the competition and there’s prizes in each of the two age groups. Entry forms can be downloaded below, or call (334) 699-1475 and we will mail you one. Many thanks to Academy Sports+Outdoors for sponsoring this competition and to Fatbacks for donating the steaks to be grilled.  Also, look for in-store promotions at Academy to get free grilling lessons and learn how to cook in the weeks before PorktoberQue!

Download the Academy Sports+Outdoors Kids Que Rules Sheet

Download the Academy Sports+Outdoors Kids Que Entry Form

academy school flyer

PorktoberQue is on the Alabama Barbecue Trail

Alabama is known for barbecue. Sure, Georgia and Tennessee think they have cornered the market on barbecue, but true fans of meats smoked low and slow know that the state that is between Tennessee and Georgia (Alabama) is truly the king of Que…

Alabama combines the best elements of both of those states and has created some of the best barbecue in the country. Alabama even has its own governing board of barbecue, the Alabama Barbecue Association, who sponsors a “Alabama Barbecue Trail” with the pro winners receiving the governors cup award at the end of the season.

The ABA was formed in 2006 to oversee the Alabama Governor’s Cup, which is awarded to the professional barbecue teams with the highest overall points in their top five contests on the Alabama Barbecue Trail, which consists of sanctioned contests throughout the state. For a schedule and links to the contests click here.


It’s easy to become a member of the ABA, and you can download your form here:   Membership is $40 and any person or cook team can be a member and earn points through competitions to win the Governor’s Cup.