Blues, fire dancing and poker run part of fun June 7, 8

Hear, ye! Hear, ye! The North Plains Smokehouse Summit BBQ Championship Days are hereby proclaimed by the office of the governor of Oregon for this coming weekend, June 7 and 8.

The free event will be Oregon’s first state barbecue championship and will feature two days of live blues music, eight regional breweries and a winery.

Also on tap will be a fire-dancing performance, a poker run, charity auctions, a kid-friendly zone and, of course, a “State Champion for Oregon” barbecue competition in downtown North Plains.

The winner will qualify to compete in the Jack Daniels Invitational in Tennessee or the prestigious World Foods Championships in Las Vegas, where the champion wins $50,000. This is currently the only qualifying event in Oregon for the world championships.

Jason Specht of Green Mountain Grills in Nevada helped coordinate the event. He’s enthusiastic about local community participants and is proud to be connecting with the Pacific Northwest BBQ Association (PNWBA), the group responsible for the BBQ circuit in the Northwest.

Competition categories are pork, pork ribs, chicken and beef brisket.

Among the teams competing will be Sugar’s Barbecue & Catering of Portland, which has participated in the national competition BBQ circuit for the past few years and is ranked as one the top 50 barbecue teams in the United States. Sugar’s was recently named grand champion runner-up for 2013 on the “BBQ Pitmasters” reality television show.

Sugar’s staff members pride themselves on their traditional approach, which means hands-on, homegrown and slow cooked while sourcing foods locally and using oak, hickory, apple, cherry and pecan wood to bring out the best in their barbecue.

Another top contender, Rusty’s Barbeque, will bring the whole family down from Canada, where the group just won another contest.

Breweries will also be entering teams, among them Laurelwood Brewing of Portland. Known for its brewpubs, Laurelwood will be selling its beer and barbecue sauce.

Events will kick off Saturday morning and will include special category competitions — the Reser’s “Potato Salad” Challenge, Forest Grove’s L-Bar-T Bison Ranch “Build a Better Bison Burger” Challenge, and the Painted Hills Natural Beef “Any Way You Want It” Challenge.

Celebrity guest judges range from Robert “Butch” Kindel and Charlynn Newton of the North Plains City Council to local television personalities Andy Carson and Kimberly Maus.

A Poker Run, open to all vehicles and based at the Last Waterin’ Hole, 31594 N.W. Commercial St. in North Plains, will include an auction and raffle. Last year’s auction was for a guest pass to the Mountaindale Sun Resort.

Keeping the barbecue theme going, Saturday night will culminate with a fire-dance performance by Shireen Press of Flamebuoyant Productions.

Sunday starts with a pancake breakfast for the benefit of the North Plains Senior Center, which operates the Meals On Wheels program, as well as the Family First Insurance Ghost Flames and Grills Cruise In car show, sponsored by Family First Insurance.

As the day progresses with the BBQ competition, other local vendors will be on hand offering even more activities.

Forest Grove-based Adventures Without Limits will bring some of their adaptive bicycles for folks to try, featuring varying degrees of mobility and adaptive needs to help everyone get out and enjoy the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

Bull Run Cider, producers of craft hard cider in Forest Grove, will be one of eight regional breweries at the competition.

Other vendors include Newberg’s James Gang BBQ Company, which makes sauces, meat rubs and cornbread mixes.

North Plains venues will also provide more live music, food and karaoke once the event has ended on both days.

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