Here's a figure that illustrates the massive appeal of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo World’s Championship Bar-B-Que Contest cookoff weekend. The rodeo estimates 215,685 visitors passed through the gates.
For a little comparison, that's more than the last measured population of Amarillo, Texas.
They came, they strolled, they ate. And all the while, more than 250 teams of the best smokers, grillers, and pitmasters — from Texas and the globe — competed for the coveted title of Overall Grand Champion Team. (Other championship titles included Brisket, Ribs, Chicken, Go Texan and Dutch Over Dessert.)
This year, that honor went to Operation BBQ Relief. The team may be familiar to Houstonians, as the volunteer operation came here to feed at least half a million people as part of the deployment's relief efforts during Hurricane Harvey.
The Reserve Grand Champion, Overall went to Team Hill Country Go Texan. Here are the other cookoff winners:
- Champion – Circle D-A Cookers
- Second Place – Operation BBQ Relief
- Third Place – Hill County Go Texan
- Champion – Gulfstream
- Second Place – Bottoms Up Cookers
- Third Place – Lignon & Dill BBQ Team
- Champion – Metro Go Texan 2/Cypress Boys
- Second Place – Texan Cowtown Cook
- Third Place – Damnifino Team
- Grand Champion – Hill County Go Texan
- Reserve Champion – Lavaca County Go Texan
Dutch Oven Dessert
- Champion – Tejas Barbacoa
- Second Place – Cold River Cattle Co. Barbeque Team
- Third Place – Texas Night Owls
- Best Façade – Holy Cow Cookers
- Go Texan Best Façade – Cherokee County Go Texan
- Best Overall Theme – Floyd, Morrow & Larkin
- Go Texan Best Overall Theme – Metro Go Texan 1 – Gridiron Cookers
- Best Recycling – Blowin’ Smoke
- Go Texan Best Recycling – Grimes County Go Texan
Meanwhile, the rodeo announced the winning wines at the upscale, annual Rodeo Uncorked! Champion Wine Auction and Dinner. Winning wines from the competition (held Nov. 3-4, 2018) were auctioned over the weekend.
The Grand Champion Best of Show, Graham Beck Brut Rosé, Robertson NV, sold for $150,000 to buyers Randa and Ray Gilliam, Kristina and Paul Somerville, Jennifer and Joe Van Matre, and Sheridan and John Eddie Williams.
The Reserve Grand Champion Best of Show, Bodegas Muriel Reserva, Rioja DOCa, 2013 sold for $120,000 to buyers Andrea and Bruce Bryant, Kathy and Gene Clark, Melinda and Pete Ruman, and The Wine Cru.
The Rodeo Uncorked! International Wine Competition included 3,156 entries from 18 countries, including Argentina, Austria, Chile, France, Italy, Japan, Portugal and South Africa. Texas wineries represented 413 entries, and 370 entries came from this year’s featured region, California’s Central Coast.
Rodeo guests who would like to sample some of those wines, by the glass and bottle, can enjoy them at the Champion Wine Garden, located in Carruth Plaza.