LHLA BBQ Cook-off is back

The Liberty Hill Livestock Association announced Wednesday that the annual BBQ Cook-off is set for July 26-27 in Briggs.

The event, which is a fundraiser for FFA and 4-H students in Liberty Hill, will be held at the End of the Trails outdoor venue on US Highway 183 in Briggs.

LHLA Executive Secretary Jennifer Frazier told The Independent on Wednesday that the cook-off will be “scaled down” compared to prior years. Although there will be plenty of activities for kids along with live music, there will be no carnival.

She said the sanctioned cook-off will have space for 75 cookers, and reservations are being accepted now.

Blaming the challenges involved in obtaining a Mass Gathering Permit from Williamson County and a general “lack of interest” from inside the organization, LHLA voted Jan. 29 to cancel the cook-off that was originally planned for April.

Kenny Adair, who was president at that time but has since resigned,  said the process of obtaining the permit from Williamson County was so burdensome and the requirements so costly that LHLA volunteers agreed by a 23-0 vote that the April event should be cancelled.

Ms. Frazier said this week that the Board chose the location just inside the Burnet County line to avoid the Williamson County requirements.

In 2012, the LHLA BBQ Cook-off featured 150 cooking teams and raised more than $27,000 that was used to purchase livestock for local FFA students.

State law requires a mass gathering permit for events held outside a municipality that attract more than 2,500 people, or 500 people if 51 percent or more may be younger than 21 years of age and alcoholic beverages will be “sold, served or consumed.” An event is also considered a mass gathering is people remain for more than five continuous hours or for any amount of time during a period from 10 p.m. through 4 a.m. Williamson County was responsible for enforcing the law.

Ms. Frazier said alcohol will be permitted at the Cook-off’s new venue.

“While everything is scaled down, our goal is still the same — to raise money for the kids,” she said.

The LHLA BBQ Cook-off started  about 18 years ago when a few barbecue teams gathered behind the VFW Post 8200 downtown. In the early days, proceeds from the annual event were shared with the VFW. When the event began drawing more cookers, it was moved in 2008 to the Indian Mound Ranch on State Highway 29.

For more information about next month’s cook-off, send email to jladuque.lhla@gmail.com or visit the LHLA on Facebook.