D'IBERVILLE -- Hungry barbecue lovers came from all over to chow down at the eighth annual Barbecue Throwdown on Saturday at the Town Green.
The International BBQ Cookers Association-sanctioned event is sponsored by the city and D'Iberville Gateway Group.
"It's going really well," said Tracy Morgan, president of D'Iberville Gateway Group. "We've got beautiful weather this weekend, every single team showed up and a couple of extra vendors showed up this morning, which is always a plus."
Teams competed for more than $5,000 in cash and prizes in the barbecue chicken, ribs and brisket cookoff. Young cooks had the chance to compete in the Piglet Pork Chop category.
The Pulled Pork Taste Tent is always a favorite, where guests can sample the entries and vote on their favorite.
The crowd also enjoyed live entertainment, arts and crafts, children's activities and games and an antique car show.
The heavy traffic and full parking lots downtown were a testament to the popularity of the Barbecue Throwdown.
"The first couple of years, it was set up at the sports complex behind D'Iberville Elementary. The very first year, we had 11 teams, and now we're at 38 teams," Morgan said. "The event itself has increased tremendously. As an event grows and ages, more people find out about it and more people want to be involved."
Morgan said the challenge is choosing the right location with good layout and ample parking, and the Town Green is proving to be a great spot.
He said the thing that keeps the vendors, competitors and crowds coming back each year is the community interaction.
"When I spoke to one of the vendors earlier today, he said he loves it because you get people from all over the Coast and from other states to come down here for a great day of fellowship and camaraderie," he said.
He said cooks come to share recipe secrets, though he doubts if the tips are totally accurate, as competitors want to keep their methods under wraps.
Among the competitors were last year's champions Adam Gautreau and Jason White of Deep South Smokin' 'Cue from Gonzales, La.
"Consistency in every category -- that's the secret. You can't just do good in chicken and brisket and not do good in ribs," Gautreau aid. "I love to compete. Even if they were having a cereal-making contest, I'd be giving it my all. I love to cook."