That’s one way to look at KC’s vaunted American Royal World Series of Barbecue, an institution that appears headed for endangered species status.
Along with of course, the American Royal horse and livestock show which seems to draw more horse flies these days than paying customers. Sad though it is, these days nobody really seems to much care about it.
Not much more than a year ago, big shot corporate supporters of the dying, annual livestock and horse shindig tried to muscle Kansas City officials into tearing down Kemper Arena and erecting a smaller but still wildly expensive replacement. To be paid for mostly by taxpayers, naturally.
Well, for the time being anyway that ship seems to have sailed.
Fortunately the barbecue contest still matters, but for how long?
The unfortunate part of it being that rival, forward thinking city Memphis has turned its rival World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest into a world class event via a killer riverside location right off its bustling blues-themed entertainment district and pairing it with a music fest that rivals some of the nation’s best.
This year for example, Memphis hosted Neil Young, Paul Simon, Beck, Weezer, John Mayall, Lucinda Williams, Gin Blossoms, Barenaked Ladies, Panic at the Disco and dozens more.
And so who’s playing at this year’s BBQ World Series at the Kansas Speedway?
Nobody as of yet, based on a careful reading of the American Royal website.
Maybe they’ll sign another all-girl Kiss tribute band to headline. Last year, courtesy of working with the Chiefs, the fest at least landed Big & Rich – obviously a far cry from Memphis – but better than nothing.
Speaking of the Kansas Speedway spiriting the barbecue contest across State Line…
KC’s bbq fest is still recuperating from leaving its longtime home in the West Bottoms and moving last year to the sterile confines of the Truman Sports Complex parking lot.
A lame Kansas City Star “poll” in which 375 respondents weighed in on the folly of the barbecue fest abandoning its longtime home, first for Arrowhead and now KCK.
All in favor of Kansas Speedway for the fest’s new home – the place where the music festival known as Kanrocksas took a bullet a few years back:
Only 28 percent strongly agreed the Speedway was the best choice.
But 73 percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that the BBQ fest needs to head back to its former stockyards home.
And 50 percent of respondents strongly disagreed with its move across State Line to Kansas.
The bottom line:
Somebody needs to rescue what’s left of the barbecue contest, completely rethink it – apart from its connection to a dying horse and livestock show and give it a Memphis style refreshening…
Before it’s too late!