Team Registration Now Open for World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest


Memphis in May International Festival is excited to announce the open registration for the 2020 Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest. The 43rd annual world-renown Contest will return to Tom Lee Park on the banks of the Mississippi River in downtown Memphis on May 13-16, 2020. Applications are available here and the submission deadline is February 14, 2020.

Festival organizers expect the approximately 250 team spaces to fill quickly with top-tier barbecue teams, and as a result, teams are encouraged to register early – especially for the best locations along the riverfront.  This year, Tuffy Stone’s Cool Smoke team from Richmond, VA is expected to return to defend his World Championship.  The 2019 World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest brought teams from twenty-six states and six countries to vie for a chance at the title, fame, and prize money. 

It takes nearly 400 judges to determine the World Champion, and this year’s Official Memphis in May Judges Seminar in November has already sold out, filled with barbecue fans eager to join the ranks of those qualified to judge the 2020 Contest.

“Not only is the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest one of the premier events of Memphis culture, it is also one of the world’s premier competitions, drawing teams and patrons from around the world to Memphis,” said James L. Holt, president and CEO of Memphis in May. “As Memphians, we are excited to once again welcome these global guests to enjoy our signature cuisine on the banks of our beautiful riverfront in Tom Lee Park.”

The World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest features the championship categories of Whole Hog, Rib, and Shoulder, plus the Patio Porkers, an amateur division for those who want to test their skills before competing with the professionals.  Primary sponsors include Cattlemen’s Barbecue Sauce, Kingsford, and Budweiser.

2020 Memphis in May Festival dates:

Month-long Salute to Ghana: May 1 - 31, 2020
Beale Street Music Festival: May 1 - 3, 2020
World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest: May 13 - 16, 2020
Great American River Run: May 23, 2020

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