FACT: There's been an 18% increase in contest participation by members in the past year    
FACT: 64% of KCBS members own three or more grills/smokers    
FACT: 70% of our members grill-out/cook BBQ more than 25 times per year    
FACT: 56% of Americans report having a smartphone, 77% of KCBS members do    
FACT: 70% of KCBS members use Facebook    
FACT: 55% of members choose charcoal when cooking for leisure    
FACT: 23% of KCBS members work in the food service industry as a restauranteur or caterer    
FACT: Learning from friends, family and at competitions is the best way to improve cooking skills    
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May 23, 2018
Kansas City, Missouri – The American Royal Association is pleased to announce the 2018 class of inductees to the Barbecue Hall of Fame: Tuffy Stone, Tootsie Tomanetz, and Charlie Vergos. The formal induction ceremony will take place during the American Royal World Series of Barbecue® at the Kansas Speedway, September 13 - 16.

Each year, three individuals are awarded the prestigious honor and are recognized by the Barbecue Hall of Fame for their significant contributions to the barbecue community and demonstration of achievement in barbecue excellence.

This year, the Barbecue Hall of Fame will welcome the following three inductees:

Tuffy Stone – Author, Restaurateur, Pitmaster, Celebrity, Chef
Tuffy Stone is many things: a World Record-breaking champion pitmaster, a former Marine, a classically-trained chef, a businessman, and an occasional reality television star. Dubbed “The Professor”, Tuffy’s legendary precision and obsession with the science of smoke make him one of the most influential people in barbecue.

Originally trained in French culinary technique at La Maisonette, Tuffy attended his first barbecue competition in 2004 and found himself hooked. Though early cooks were humbling, to say the least, Tuffy redoubled his efforts and gradually became one of the most formidable competitors on the circuit.

He has earned Grand Champion titles in nearly every major barbecue competition including back-toback wins at the American Royal World Series of Barbecue®, Grand Champion at the 2015 Kingsford Invitational, and his history making run at the Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational. In 2016, Tuffy and his Cool Smoke BBQ Team made history at The Jack, becoming the only team to ever win the contest three times and the only team to take home back to back top prizes.

Tootsie Tomanetz – Pitmaster, Restaurateur
Tootsie was 31 when she first started cooking barbecue and now, 50 years later, she has become one of the most renowned female pitmasters in the world.

The world of barbecue started for Tootsie when her and her husband bought the City Meat Market in Lexington in the late 1970s. From there, Tootsie learned the meat and BBQ from Orange Holloway. The rest, is history and brings us to today where every Saturday folks line up in Lexington, TX at Snows BBQ at 8:00am for their offering of what has been named the Best BBQ in Texas (which is only available until it runs out).

Snow's BBQ has also been labeled as "The Best Texas BBQ in the World" by The New Yorker in its article titled "By Meat Alone" written by Calvin Trillin in the November 24, 2008, issue.

In early 2018, eighty-two year-old pitmaster Norma Frances “Tootsie” Tomanetz was nominated as a semifinalist for a James Beard Award. Tootsie is not only known for her world class BBQ, but her willingness to stop and talk to all of her customers and bring joy the world of BBQ.

Charlie Vergos - Restaurateur
It all started in 1948. At the time, Charlie Vergos co-owned a ‘meat and three’ restaurant called, Wimpy’s, with his brother-in-law. Charlie and his brother-in-law had different views on the future, so Charlie decided he’d move into the basement and sell ham sandwiches and beer in a snack joint he called The Rendezvous.

At that time, ribs were scrap meat. Ribs had been a staple of backyard barbecues in Memphis neighborhoods for years, but not used in restaurants. So Charlie took a chance and came up with his own formula, still used today: he threw the racks in 18 inches from the fire, and grilled them for an hour and fifteen minutes to seal in the flavor. From that moment on, “Memphis Style Ribs” were created and it became the standard and changed the world of BBQ forever.

Creating the famous dry ribs established The Rendezvous. Not only did it become one of the most famous spots for high profile guests, but also made a name for downtown Memphis when it needed it the most. It has been said that Charlie was an “icon for saving Downtown.” Since then, the famous location has won many prestigious awards including one of 50 All American Icons by Nation’s Restaurant News magazine.

In 2010 Charlie passed away, but his legacy continues through his family who run the restaurant and still serve those signature ribs the same way.

The American Royal World Series of Barbecue® will return to the Kansas Speedway, September 13 – 16. The event brings together world-renowned pitmasters and barbecue enthusiasts from across the country and around the world to compete for the title of Grand Champion in both the Open and Invitational contests. Returning In 2018, the public festival will feature the Taste of KC Barbecue tasting area, a local live music festival, beer and cocktail gardens, a classic car show, and an ‘all things BBQ’ Marketplace. Plus, a full line-up of kid’s activities at the Cowtown Family Fun Fest on Saturday. For more information, visit www.AmericanRoyal.com.

About the American Royal Association
Woven through the history of Kansas City since 1899, the American Royal provides opportunities for youth and adults from around the country to compete in our Livestock Show, ProRodeo, Horse Shows, and the World Series of Barbecue®. These events allow the American Royal, a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit organization, to give over $1 million annually for youth scholarships and support agriculture education programs. In 2017, over 104,000 attendees attended American Royal events generating over $60 million of economic impact. To learn more about the American Royal visit AmericanRoyal.com.
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