Giving (Hog)back: Colorado BBQ Challenge filled with fun, good will |

Giving (Hog)back: Colorado BBQ Challenge filled with fun, good will


What: 26th annual Colorado BBQ Challenge

Where: Main Street Frisco from Madison Avenue to Sixth Avenue

When: Friday, June 14, to Saturday, June 15

Cost: Free to attend. Food is purchased with Hogbacks, which cost $1 each. Items average about five to 12 Hogbacks. Hogbacks will be accepted at participating shops and restaurants through Monday, June 17. Visit to purchase in advance and for more information.

FRISCO — The state’s longest running barbecue competition has returned to Frisco this Father’s Day weekend. Roughly 12,000 attendees, 66 competitors and 40 vendors will revel in live music, pig races, demos, the Bacon Burner 6K and, of course, barbecue. (See full schedule below.)

Shuttle parking will be available at Summit Middle School at 158 School Road, Frisco. The free shuttles run from 10:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Friday and 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Saturday. Carpooling and taking the shuttle is encouraged as anyone with three or more people in their car will receive five Hogbacks, the currency for the 26th annual Colorado BBQ Challenge, per car. Shuttle bus drop-off/pick-up locations are located on Granite Street at First Avenue and Fifth Avenue.

Because of the cooking and commotion, furry friends are not welcomed at the festival. There will be no pets allowed on the street, sidewalks or parks in the event site. Additionally, no one with pets in their car will be allowed to park in the shuttle parking lot.

The Food

As a Kansas City Barbeque Society sanctioned competition, The Colorado BBQ Challenge attracts an elite group of pitmasters each year from Colorado, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas and beyond. Winning the Colorado BBQ Challenge provides eligibility to compete in the American Royal, essentially the “World Series” of barbecue.

Competition categories include pork, ribs, chicken, brisket, barbeque sauce, side dish, salsa and desert. The awards ceremony will be held at 4 p.m. on Saturday at the Frisco Historic Park at the corner of Second Avenue and Main Street.

Watch: Scenes from the 2018 Colorado BBQ Challenge:

The public can exchange Hogbacks for some of that grub from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday. If someone wishes to learn more about the world of barbecue, they can check out Friday’s chef demos with Blane Hunter for Snake River Farms at 2:30 p.m. and Lynx Grills at 4 p.m. at the historic park.

On Saturday the park will be the destination to catch the annual firefighter cook-off. Red, White & Blue Fire Protection District and Summit Fire & EMS will go head to head to benefit a nonprofit at 11 a.m. Limited tastes will be available for free.

Once all is said and done, any remaining Hogbacks can be spent at participating restaurants on Saturday from 6-8 p.m. for a happy hour event or through Monday, June 17.

The fun

Following Thursday’s concert by Eminence Ensemble, eight other bands will play throughout the weekend, including locals such as Satellite13 and Beau Thomas along with headliner The Flobots.

Yet the unique entertainment comes from the bacon-focused activities. Starting at noon Friday and occurring every two hours are pig races featuring All-Alaskan Racing Pigs on Fourth Avenue. The running of the piglets continues on Saturday at 10 a.m.

Speaking of pork, at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday walkers and runners can enjoy the Bacon Burner 6K at the Frisco Bay Marina. Not only will it help participants feel like they earned their barbecue, but aide stations come equipped with bacon.

The Friends

Frisco’s largest annual event wouldn’t be possible without the hundreds of volunteers — over 400 between nonprofit partners and community coordinators. Two of those are Jim and Roxane Fuxa of Omaha, Nebraska. Now living in Colorado Springs, the retired teachers were Frisco residents since 1987 and lived there full-time between 2004 and 2013. Civic duty was and is in their blood as Jim served on the Frisco Planning Commission for seven years and the couple returns to the mountain town each summer to give back.

“Volunteerism makes you feel like you’re part of the community and when you’re part of a community you’re more likely to volunteer,” said Roxane. Along with the Colorado BBQ Challenge, they participate in the Senior Rummage Sale and in past years could be seen assisting with the Frisco Town Cleanup, Run The Rockies and Music on Main Street.

Their main duty at the festival — one they’ve been doing for more than 20 years — involves cleaning up after the judges and making sure all entries are organized. “That way, if there’s a questions on the competition, like ‘Did team No. 28 turn in a container for pulled pork,’ they have to go back and see the foam containers,” said Jim.

Though Jim was briefly a judge in the competition for two years, he and his wife have no background in barbecue or the food industry. But simply because he was asked to help out, Jim is a meat inspector for all competitors.

For about four hours on Friday morning, he checks to see if pitmasters are using raw, sealed USDA-approved meat or meat that’s been purchased from a USDA-inspected source, while simultaneously making sure they haven’t gotten a head start in food preparations with seasoning or cooking.

“They can start injecting once we inspect it, but not before we look at it,” he said.

Then on Saturday they help mop up after the vendors enjoy their pancake breakfast and complete other odd jobs such as laying out the toothpicks, soda crackers, pencils and water on the judging tables.

The cooks are serious about their craft and the competition, and according to the Fuxas it shows in the final product.

“We were in Memphis one year and we go to this place that was supposed to be the best,” said Jim. “It doesn’t even hold a candle to what you can eat here, not even close. This is the best barbecue we’ve ever had.”

“It’s more than just the food,” added Roxanne. “The music, the chef demonstrations — there’s so much more to do than just eat.”


Friday, June 14

11:00am – 9:00pm
BBQ Sales Open to the Public

Main Street (Madison Avenue – 6th Avenue)

12:00pm, 2:00pm, 4:00pm, 6:00pm & 8:00pm
Pig Races
4th Avenue
A family favorite event at the BBQ Challenge!

1:00pm – 2:30pm
Hobo Village

Music Stage (Madison Avenue & Main Street)

2:30pm – 3:30pm
Free chef demo with Blane Hunter for Snake River Farms
Maximum Comfort Pool & Spa/Lynx Kitchen Stage
Frisco Historic Park at 2nd Avenue & Main Street

3:00pm – 4:30pm
Music Stage (Madison Avenue & Main Street)

4:00pm – 6:00pm
Free chef demo with Lynx Grills
Maximum Comfort Pool & Spa/Lynx Kitchen Stage
Frisco Historic Park at 2nd Avenue & Main Street

4:00pm – 6:00pm
Bacon Burner 6k Registration and packet pick up.
Frisco Town Hall (1st Avenue & Main Street)

5:00pm – 6:30pm
21 Taras

Music Stage (Madison Avenue & Main Street)

6:00pm – 8:00pm
Breckenridge Distillery Whiskey  Tour
Frisco Historic Park Chapel on 2nd Avenue

7:00pm – 8:30pm
Uptown Funk
Music Stage (Madison Avenue & Main Street)

Please note that the BBQ Challenge is a no pet event.

Saturday, June 15

Bacon Burner 6k
Frisco Bay Marina
Earn your BBQ with this 6k fun run featuring a bacon aid station.

10:00am – 6:00pm
BBQ Sales open to the Public
Main Street (Madison Avenue – 6th Avenue)

10:00am, 12:00pm, 2:00pm, 4:00pm
Pig Races
4th Avenue
A family favorite event at the BBQ Challenge!

10:00am – 11:30am
Beau Thomas
Music Stage (Madison Avenue & Main Street)

11:00am – 12:30pm
Firefighter Cook-Off
Maximum Comfort Pool & Spa/Lynx Kitchen Stage
Frisco Historic Park at 2nd Avenue & Main Street

12:00pm – 2:00pm
The Drunken Hearts
Music Stage (Madison Avenue & Main Street)

2:30pm – 4:00pm
New Orleans Suspects
Music Stage (Madison Avenue & Main Street)

Awards Ceremony for BBQ Competition
Maximum Comfort Pool & Spa/Lynx Kitchen Stage
Frisco Historic Park at 2nd Avenue & Main Street

4:30pm – 6:00pm
The Flobots
Music Stage (Madison Avenue & Main Street)

6:00pm – 8:00pm
BBQ Happy Hour in Frisco
Frisco restaurants continue the party with drink specials and good times. For information about local dining opportunities contact the Information Center at 970-668-5547 or

Please note that the BBQ Challenge is a no pet event.

Schedule subject to change

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