KCBS Membership Surpasses 10,000July 28, 2008 The world’s largest society of barbeque enthusiasts just passed a milestone. The official membership of the Kansas City Barbeque Society is now more than 10,000 members strong.
“This is a great accomplishment for KCBS, and something we never thought possible 20 years ago,” commented Carolyn Wells, co-founder and executive director of KCBS. “Our membership continues to grow in diversity and geography, but everyone has one thing in common: a passion for great BBQ.”
Now in its 22nd year, KCBS is the official sanctioning body of almost 300 barbeque contests throughout the nation. The society uses a blind-judging process that allows teams to compete fairly and consistently across four primary categories: chicken, pork ribs, pulled pork and brisket.
From local fairs to state bbq championships, contests using the KCBS judging and sanctioning process are located in almost every state, coast to coast, border to border.
Membership in KCBS ranges from backyard grillers to professional cook teams that travel the country for prizes and money, from BBQ “fans” to “certified” barbeque judges who have completed the half-day KCBS training process.
Wells pointed out that just two years ago, KCBS membership hovered around 6,000. She attributes the phenomenal growth to more BBQ competitions, more professional teams, more coverage in mass media, and a more aggressive marketing effort. The society recently rebranded itself, adopting the slogan of “America’s BBQ Experts”, and has started a PR campaign that includes a custom-designed info/demo tour that is making its way to 24 of the nation’s largest barbeque and food festivals.
“For two decades, KCBS was one of the best kept secrets in barbeque,” Wells explained. “Today, we are a lot more front and center, sharing our knowledge about great BBQ and our professional recipes, as well as promoting our contests in ways we never have been able to before.”
She points to an expanded, resourceful web site and the addition of national corporate partners as key elements to the society’s recent growth.
In America (yes, the organization has international members), the annual membership fee is only $35 for an individual and $50 for a family. Members get voting rights, board access, recipe assistance, a monthly newsletter on all things BBQ, as well as discounts on barbeque classes and hotel fees.