. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

A budding grillmaster shows off his wares at the 2016 Kids’ Q event. (Courtesy Photo)

Our weather is starting to really warm up, which means… it’s time for Devon Energy’s Sixth Annual Smokin’ on the Pecos BBQ Championship extravaganza June 23-25 at the Eddy County Fairgrounds!

This event is the result of organizers David and Vickie Grousnick indulging in a binge-watching marathon of “Pit Masters;” their interest quickly grew from wanting to become certified barbecue judges to deciding to create an entire Kansas City Barbeque Society and Rocky Mountain Barbecue Association dual-sanctioned event for Artesia.

This year’s event will be a double-header, which means that teams will compete for $15,000 daily in total cash prizes. Besides the traditional barbecue categories, SOTP has its own original category: Anything Goes Discos, starring our own local outdoor cooking favorite — the disco, aka plow disk, aka discada. There’s also Guac-Off (guacamole) and Dessert categories.

And besides the hefty cash prizes, the Grand Champion barbecue winner and the Dessert winner will be automatically qualified for the World Food Championship competitions.

SOTP also includes a Kids’ Q event, where kids can compete individually or in teams in one of three age divisions – 6-8, 9-11 or 12-15 – and a Backyard BBQ event for the local, novice backyard smokers/grillers.

But wait — there’s more! Besides the great food, there will be the Bandoleros Cowboy Mounted Shooting, a beer garden, an arts and crafts trade show, bull riding Friday night, the Little Miss Smokin’ on the Pecos Charity Pageant, and live music highlighting local bands daily and premier concerts in the evening.

Friday night, Tobias Rene and The Texas Tornados take the stage; The Long Run: Colorado’s Tribute to the Eagles is set to entertain the crowd Saturday night.

Friday night is the only night requiring a ticket to enter the event. Tickets for Tobias Rene and The Texas Tornados are just $15 in advance or $20 at the gate. Advance tickets can be purchased at Hotel Artesia or online at www.brownpapertickets.com.

The Little Miss Smokin’ on the Pecos Pageant will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday June 24, at the Eddy County Fairgrounds and is open to girls ages 5-12. Entry fee is $55, and all proceeds from the pageant will go to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, so it’s fun for a great cause!

Pageant contestants will learn an introductory number and then perform a one-minute talent of their choice, model a formal-wear dress, and participate in onstage questions-and-answers for the judges.

The winner will receive a gorgeous crown, a sash and flowers, and will represent the SOTP event at appearances throughout the year. Entry forms will be accepted through June 23; to enter, contact Hannah Hagelstein at [email protected]

With live entertainment, multi-generational participation, and plenty of barbecue, SOTP promises a variety of fun for the whole family!

Visit www.smokinonthepecos.com for a full schedule of events and bands!