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5th Annual Smokin' on the Rez BBQ and Music Festival Features the KrackerJacks and KC Barbecue

One of Mississippi’s all-time favorite party bands and a different barbecue sanctioning organization will headline the 5th annual Smokin’ on The Rez BBQ and Music Festival September 16th at Old Trace Park at Barnett Reservoir in Ridgeland.

The KrackerJacks will play from 6 to 9 p.m. on Saturday against the backdrop of the 33,000-acre lake, and the $15 admission will get each visitor a pulled pork BBQ plate - cooked by a professional team - with all the trimmings, and will be served from 5 to 7 p.m. The music will start at 3:30 p.m. with the reservoir’s own Jay Herrington and Seth Thomas. Gates open at noon.

“We are both excited and proud to have the KrackerJacks agree to play at our event,” said Dale Shepherd, president of the sponsoring Barnett Reservoir Foundation. “For decades, the KrackerJacks have been one of the most popular party bands in Mississippi, and now they only play a few open events a year. Luckily, they have chosen to be a part of our event.

“We are also happy to have Jay Herrington and Seth Thomas back. They were a big hit at our first Sunset Concert Series event and helped make the entire six-event series a success.”

The music is just one part of the weekend event. Food, especially smoked meat, is the other. About 40 teams are expected to begin setting up on Friday and cooking Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free to the public on Friday and Sunday (September 15th and 17th) for those interested in interacting with the pit masters.

“This year, we have made a major switch in our format, joining the Kansas City BBQ Society, the largest barbecue sanctioning body in the country,” said organizer Bobby Cleveland. “Where previously, we dealt only with pork, KCBS has four divisions with chicken, pulled pork, pork ribs, and beef brisket. We have also changed from a one-day contest to two days, with each day a separate competition where teams will turn in their four entries. They will compete for prize money based on number of entries each day, plus an overall champion and reserve champion based on combined two-day scores.”

Because of a switch from Memphis BBQ Network to KCBS, Cleveland said the Barnett Reservoir Foundation will also sponsor a KCBS judging class at Old Trace Park on Thursday night, September 14th.

The nearly three-hour class will include instruction on how to judge and score by KCBS rules. Of course, to accomplish that requires a full sampling of the four categories of meat judged at KCBS events - chicken, ribs, pulled pork and beef brisket - all prepared by an experienced KCBS pit master for those enrolled in the class.

Cost of the class is $55 for current KCBS members who register and pay the class fee by September 7th, and $60 the week of the class.

The cost for non-KCBS members is $95 prior to September 7th, and $100 the week of the class. The fee includes your $40 first-year membership in KCBS.

For more information on Smokin’ on The Rez and to find application for the contest or the judging class, visit

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