First Smoke Show event deemed a success

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In an effort to bring more entertainment to the Hillsdale community, WCSR 92.1 FM and its parent company, McKibbin Media Group, hosted its first-ever WCSR Smoke Show presented by County National Bank on Saturday, June 25 at the Hillsdale County fairgrounds. The event was designed as a community BBQ cook-off with live entertainment. Thousands of people were in attendance throughout the day.

Twenty teams participated in a BBQ cook-off in which they were each required to prepare approximately 18 pounds of pork over an eight-hour period. The WCSR Smoke Show was free to the public, and patrons could purchase a $5 tasting wristband for the opportunity to sample the contestants’ BBQ. The maximum of 500 tasting wristbands sold out in 90 minutes.

A panel of nine judges (including Michigan Association of Broadcasters President/CEO Sam Klemet) sampled the smoked pork and scored it on a variety of categories such as flavor, moisture, texture, and more. The winners of the contest and their respective prize money, courtesy of County National Bank, are below. The top three also received trophies from WCSR.

  • Matt Bell – $921;
  • Shana Coty – $500;
  • Big E’s BBQ – $300;
  • DDQ – $200;
  • Matt McDowell – $100.

In addition to the BBQ cook-off, a variety of local-area vendors provided additional options for food and shopping; kids were able to enjoy free pony rides, a petting zoo and carnival games thanks to the HUB Church and Wild World Adventures; The Halter Center provided an archery area for people of all ages; and four bands graced the stage throughout the day to provide free live entertainment: Five Second Rule ft. Russ Kendrick Martin, Kung Fu Diesel, Mark Arshak, and Remnantz.

MMG marketing specialist and MAB Foundation board member, Mark Libke, who oversaw the organization and execution of the event, thought it was a great first year of the event.

“It’s our duty as a local radio station to provide our community with great entertainment options and this event was a big step towards accomplishing that goal,” Libke said. “We had thousands of happy patrons that attended and it was a great festival atmosphere for all involved. A big thanks to our partners and for the MAB and other community leaders who attended and made this event truly special.”

McKibbin Media Group is already in the throes of planning their next free community event, the Fall Fest & Chili Classic in downtown Jackson Saturday, Oct. 1.

Live entertainment from the Remnantz, and others, was a popular draw to the Smoke Show.