President’s Message

Hello, MABA membership! I hope this newsletter finds you well. We are excited to see that the number of contest cancellations in the region has slowed down drastically and we are even seeing new contests popping up in the region. We are hopeful that an end to the coronavirus restrictions is here and we can return to doing what we love and seeing friends again.

Our Backyard, Master Series and Steak memberships are rising and we are excited to welcome new members. Please come out to the Good Luck Shot at your next contest and meet the MABA family. We look forward to meeting you.

Please feel free to contact me at with any questions or concerns. I welcome all feedback from our membership. Be well and we hope to see you at a contest soon!

MABA President, Lisa Dommes


Gunter Wilhelm Supports MABA with Custom Engraved Knives!

MABA is pleased to partner with Gunter Wilhelm for the 2021 season!

Gunter Wilhelm will be supporting the MABA Cup Series, Steak Cook of the Year, Backyard Series Team of the Year and Master Series Rookie Team of the Year with custom engraved knives for the winners! MABA is excited to showcase their “wickedly sharp” knives and high quality products! Thank you Gunter Wilhelm!

GW Knife

B&B Charcoal Sponsors Master Series Chicken, Backyard Series Chicken and Steak Cook of the Year

MABA is pleased to welcome B&B Charcoal as a sponsor for the 2020 + 2021 Super Season Master Series Team of the Year in Chicken, the Backyard Series Team of the Year in Chicken and and the Steak Cook of the Year programs! With their support, MABA is excited to award additional cash prize payouts! Thanks to B&B for their support and their #BetterBurning charcoal!


Oklahoma Joe’s Steak Cook of the Year Update!

MABA is very excited with the outpouring of interest in the Oklahoma Joe’s Steak Cook of the Year points chase! The season kicked off in Urbanna, VA on March 27th with BBQ Gives Back! As of May 25th, we’ve had 39 members register to compete in the chase. We’d like to take a moment to recognize those cooks and wish them all good luck in this year’s inaugural Steak Cook of the Year points chase!


Registered 2021 Steak Cooks
Andy Kane, Bill Atkins, Bob Tarpy, Brian Polgrean, Chris Jackson, Chris Schriver, Dan Rumans, Dave Travis, David Paulini, David Van Way, Drew Darneille, Ed Gent, Ercole Chila, Fred Hain, Glen Zobel, Greg Boggs, Henry Jones, Hope Brown, Jake Harshman, Jamie Fink, Jamie Trader, Jerry Gates, John Ardeno, Keith Todd, Kelly Schriver, Manny Viernes, Marc Brazeau, Michele Perelka, Rick Manzi, Robyn Garrett, Rodney Garrett, Rolfe Garrett, Terri Rumans, Tiffany Patrick, Tim Harley, Tim Newell, Tina Hain, Todd Johnston and Tom Perelka.


Early Season MABA Cup Winners

…and just like that, the BBQ season is off to a hot start and two MABA State Cup contests are in the books!!

The first MABA State Cup contest of the 2021 season took place at the Interstate BBQ Festival in Boonsboro, Maryland on April 17th, 2021 where Pitmaster Andrew Darneille and his Smokecraft – MD team were crowned the Maryland MABA State Cup Champion!

The second MABA State Cup contest took place one week later on April 24th in Blairstown, New Jersey for the Campground Series, the New Jersey KnoQ-Out where Pitmaster Greg Boggs and his wife, Karryl of Boggs Hog BBQ were crowned the New Jersey MABA State Cup Champion!

A huge congrats to both teams!

In June, we will once again award two more MABA State Cup Champions for Virginia on June 12th at the BBQ Jamboree in Fredericksburg, VA followed by West Virginia on June 19th at the Almost Heaven BBQ Bash in Roanoke, WV. Good luck to all VA and WV teams!


Q & A With The Backyard World Champ

By Jamie Fink
With BBQ Gives Back being the first contest of the season for many of our MABA backyard teams, we had a chance to sit down with the reigning inaugural KCBS Backyard World Champion, Dennis Bowman of Bowman’s Butt & BBQ.

Q-How did you get into BBQ?
A-I’ve always been interested in the aspect of grilling but the show BBQ Pitmasters is what initially got me interested in trying to smoke meats and it also made me aware there was such a thing as competitions to compete at. From there I got a smoker and started smoking pork butts for family get togethers and it all took off from there. That’s actually where the name “Bowman’s Butt” came from because I used to only smoke pork butts at first haha

Q-How has BBQ impacted your life?
A-Its become so much of my life at this point. I’ve sort of become known as the bbq guy in my family but also in the community where I live, with customers I work with etc. I do a lot of cooking on the side for people which has continued to grow more and more. I’m also very competitive and its really given me an outlet to put my focus and competitive side to the test which I absolutely love.

Q-Do you ever plan on going pro?
A-Yes I do plan on competing pro only at some point. I’m trying to make sure I fine tune the backyard meats as much as possible first and it’s also hard to leave this group of backyard teams in the Mid-Atlantic region. We’ve all become so close and have become friends even outside of BBQ I’m trying to just enjoy competing with that group for now until it feels like the right time.

Q-We’ve seen a big growth in the BY scene in the last year how has that impacted you?
A-It’s been amazing. I started competing before the large rise of the backyard division in the past year or two and its been incredible to be part of the growth and the inclusion of points races, a world championship invitational etc. Winning last years World Invitational obviously impacted me a lot but I would say the growth has really made me a better cook more than anything. A couple years ago it was not normal for backyard teams to all have sponsors, take pro cooking classes and be consistently scoring over 170 in meat categories. Now that’s pretty much become the standard so it’s really made us all work harder and become better because of it.

Q-Who do you think is your biggest competition?
A-It’s really hard to say just because there’s so many good cooks out there now. I mean you have the big names like Steve Dotson, Lem and Jamie Trader. But then you also have newer teams like Kenzie, Dave Dick and even now the teams that came to backyard this year like Glenn Zobel, Jon Wade etc. And then once you get out of our region you always have excellent cooks from Alabama and some other parts of the country. But as for direct competition at this point I wouldn’t even be a little surprised with almost any team that is part of the Mid Atlantic backyard points chase winning a Grand Championship at any contest because that’s just how good the group as a whole has become now.

Q-What is next on your bbq bucket list?
A-For me my next step is Improving my cook site and how I compete. Im planning on getting a back porch trailer and then probably transition to a different smoker at that point. I would like to be able to use that for not only competing but catering type activities as well so everything can keep growing organically for me. Outside of that I plan on keep practicing and improving and working on some of the master series meats to prepare myself a little more when I decide to go pro.

Q-There are a lot of good ones out there, but what is your favorite comp? And why?
A-I would have to say Smoke On The Mountain in Galax is my favorite. For a few reasons. It was the first competition I ever competed at, I’ve competed at that contest more than any others and I always considered it my hometown cook because I grew up about 15 minutes from there. The backyard portion of that event has never been KCBS while I have competed so I’m really excited for that contest to have the KCBS backyard format for chicken and ribs this year, I think that’s a huge improvement and it should bring a lot more teams to the competition. It’s also the only contest I have ever attended that also has an MBN competition event going on. It’s really neat to be around that different style competitors and the whole event just has a really cool atmosphere around it because of that.

Q-Finally what advice would you give someone wanting to get into competition bbq?
A-I would say just talk with teams that are doing it because everyone is so helpful and then you can also get an idea of what to expect. Don’t be intimidated, you can put everything into it or you can just bring the bare minimum’s and still have a great time competing. At the end of the day we’re just smoking meats and seeing which ones the judges like most that day. so I would say don’t overthink it.

Almost Heaven Rib Fest – Ribs Only Double Contest

By Bill Jones

Jody Light and her committee brought some smoke and BBQ aromas back to her hometown of Buckhannon, WV with the first ever KCBS back to back rib only double contest on May 1st. Jody has been known as the queen of West Virginia State Championship BBQ contests for several years now with her Almost Heaven BBQ contests and this event, her newest foray, did not disappoint. Sixteen (16) teams gathered to see who would reign supreme in ribs.

Would it be the up-and-coming young bucks of Backyard BBQ showing they are to be reckoned with? Maybe it be the first timers to competition BBQ proving themselves to be more than neighborhood grillers? Could the current Master Series leaders in KCBS ribs hold on to their standings? Or would maybe a duo of old timers, former grand champions and world champions themselves, show there’s still some life in their smokers?

The basics of this concept, unlike a normal KCBS contest, teams would cook JUST ribs to turn into the judges. Thus, a One Meat Contest. Make this a double and suddenly it’s ribs, ribs, and more ribs.

After round one, Who Cares BBQ took home the win followed by one of those pesky old timers, Walt Moulton of Rocky Top BBQ coming out of a 19 month hibernation to compete. Chunky BBQ continued their strong showing since last years Currituck NC GC taking 3rd, followed closely by another former great team in Checkered Pig BBQ / Tommy Houston. Tommy is a king when it comes to ribs, routinely cooking at an event in Nevada over 5,000 ribs with his team. I dare say Tommy has cooked in his lifetime more ribs than all the teams in the field combined….times 10!.

Convicted Pigs BBQ, D’Qued Barbeque, Wolf’s Revenge BBQ, Lem’s Meat Varnish, Redmule’s Bad Ass BBQ out of Texas, and Brother–Uncle Barbeque rounded out the top ten. Looking at the finals of round 1, it was a little of old, a little of new, and a little of the current top teams.

Round two began next. Judges were reshuffled to new tables and teams began delivery of what they hoped would be repeats of top calls or maybe some new teams would overtake a spot from one of the previous top 10 teams from round 1.

The old timers though had other ideas. Walt ( Rocky Top ) and Tommy (Checkered Pig ) decided these current Master top teams, up and coming Back Yard champions, and newbies needed to be taken behind the proverbial woodshed and shown who’s king of ribs for on this day in round 2 they would take 1st and 2nd place respectively. Don with Who Cares BBQ kept up their torrid pace at 3rd followed by WV Loc-N-Loaded taking 4th. Red Mules Bad Ass BBQ stayed hot with a 5th , top backyard team D’Qued Barbecue took 6th. Another interesting side event occurred within the contest with Chris Schriver of Brother-Uncle Barbeque competing for the first time in some time and edged out a 7th place finish over mentor Chiles Cridlin of Wolf’s Revenge BBQ at 8th. Lem’s Meat Varnish showed he still knows what to do to compete with the big boys bring in a 9th and Chunky BBQ kept pace with a 10th.

This event was well received by teams, judges and reps alike. Jody shows she can take on something new and not miss a beat!! She continues to host top notch events for teams looking to compete in West Virginia and need to put on their calendars when they are planning to compete!