20th Annual BuzzBQ Festival a Big-time Event for Barbecue Lovers

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, ARK, May 11, 2024 — The smoke that rose above North Little Rock’s Riverfront Park on Saturday afternoon cast an irresistable aroma of barbecue that filled the air and lured thousands of ‘Que lovers to the 20th annual BuzzBQ, a fundraising barbecue festival held by KABZ 103.7 The Buzz.

Full disclosure. I’ve had the pleasure of participating as a volunteer judge for a majority of those twenty years. Most of the time, it has fallen on the day before Mother’s Day, as it did this year. To me, it has come to signal that spring is in full swing and summer is near. For many, it has become an annual ritual to flock to the banks of the Arkansas River and enjoy some world-class barbecue.

The BBQ teams that show up to compete each year begin arriving on Friday evening into early Saturday morning to fire up their grills that will slow cook the variety of meats for festival goers to sample. The team names alone are worth taking in as people stroll around the huge oval of bbq smokers, trucks, trailers, golf carts, dogs, and mini bars. From Hogarita, Twerkin Hogs BBQ, Swinetology, The Bastey Boys, Sid’s Vicious BBQ, and Bad to the Bone, to name a few. Adding the hundreds of volunteers that it takes to pull off an event like this, along with many great sponsors and vendors, it is truly a sight to see every year.

According to Jima Haddick of 103.7, “One of the reasons for the festival’s incredible success is the teams and the hard work of all the volunteers. The teams spend hundreds of dollars to come in and cook some of the best food around and then not only turn it in to compete but hand it out as well. It takes everyone from the teams to station employees, judges, and the charity to pull this event off.”

This year the big winners in the Pro Division were Hogarita (1st in chicken), Fire Dancer BBQ (1st in ribs), Bad Dog BBQ (1st in pork and Grand Champion). Winners in the Average Joe Division were Black Mamba BBQ (1st in pork and People’s Choice) and Mo’ Meat (1st in chicken, ribs, brisket, and Grand Champion). Old Grunt BBQ took home honors for the best side dish, while Up in Smoke Barbecue won for best sauce.

A portion of the proceeds for the event will go to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkansas & North Louisiana.

Article and photos by Mark T. Jenkins. Special thanks to Jima Haddick at 103.7 The Buzz.