Harrah’s is providing the shuttles that will take people to and from BBQ Fest at the fairgrounds. Shuttles will run every 15 minutes, making five stops on Second Street between Exchange and Beale, and then heading directly to the festival.
You may wonder, what is Harrah’s getting out of it? Yeah, the casinos are closed so their buses aren’t being used, but they still cost money to run.
Here’s the deal: It’s an incredible opportunity for Harrah’s to promote a regional BBQ championship that happens on the grounds of their hotel and casino: The Smokin’ Aces BBQ Championship, which will happen September 16-17 in Tunica.
The Ques Brothers didn’t participate in Smokin’ Aces last year, but our friends at Squeal Street did. They told us that Harrah’s was a VERY generous host. “Each morning, they’d come by with a gallon of coffee and two dozen donuts,” Squeal Street captain Bicycle Bobby told me. “We’d go, ‘What’s this for? We didn’t order this,’ and they’d say, ‘It’s free! Let us know if you want more.’
“And then around 2 PM they showed up with four large pizzas. We said, ‘What’s this for?’ and they told us, ‘We thought you might be tired of BBQ. Let us know if you want more pizzas!'”
Smokin’ Aces is a small BBQ championship with a lot of room to grow. Only about 500 people attended last year. However, those in the region should take note – the grand champion team receives a whopping $12,500 in prize money, and total prize money is over $40,000. Unlike BBQ Fest, the public does not have to pay to attend. It’s free. Booth sizes are bigger too – 40 x 40 for regular teams, and 20 x 20 for patio porker teams.
If one barbecue fest a year is not enough for you, Smokin’ Aces is your option to have a second one.