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Music, food and fun for a good cause at third annual Biker Blues and BBQ Rally

SALISBURY — Bikes, blues and barbecue: three great things that go great together.
And, for this year’s third annual Biker Blues and Barbecue Rally at Tilley Harley-Davidson in Salisbury, they came together splendidly.
Event organizer Gary Moss said thousands of people turned out to watch 78 cook teams compete in the competition, sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society.
The event is the final leg of the Old North State Barbecue Series, inaugurated this year, with other events in Kings Mountain, Lexington and Kannapolis.
As the smell of pork and hardwood smoke rose from outside, the sounds of blues music rose from the stage out front.
And the roar of motorcycles coming and going was ever-present in the background.
“It’s a good turnout,” Moss said, out in front of the dealership where vendors offered everything from exhaust systems and tools to free samples of Cheerwine.
Moss said that the event brings many people in from around North Carolina and other states, including some from as far away as Colorado and Florida.
He estimated “over $1 million in economic impact” on Salisbury from the event, including hotel rooms, food purchases and other expenditures from those who attended.
For many visitors, the centerpiece was the people’s choice barbecue judging.
Visitors who made a donation could sample barbecued pork from 10 of the 30 teams that participated in the category.
A variety of sweet, vinegary and smoky sauces were used, along with various seasonings and even injections.
For the points competition, teams prepared their best chicken, beef brisket, pork ribs and pulled pork.
“It’s actually really good,” cook team member Mark Johnson said of the quality of the competition.
He’s a member of team Bean Can BBQ, based in Wilmington, along with his brother Steve and wife Stephanie.
David Hintz, of team Pork County Barbeque, was there to try out his new cooker.
Hintz, wife Melissa and daughter Sara make up the team, with moral support from friends who were also enthusiastic taste-testers of the ribs they had prepared.
“You’ve got to turn in the absolute best,” he said. “This is a serious competition.”
Inside the people’s choice room, the public sampled 10 random cups of barbecue, then submitted one number as their choice for the winner of that prize.
Tilley said the event “has exceeded our expectations.”
Proceeds go to benefit the Hefner VA Medical Center in Salisbury, the Glenn A. Kiser Hospice House and the Folds of Honor Foundation.
Moss said it was important for the event to have a positive impact on local charities, especially those that serve veterans.
As the afternoon wore on, former NASCAR driver Donnie Allison came by, wearing an “Alabama Gang” baseball cap and talking with Don Tilley, himself a legend of motorcycle racing.
Allison, who has a house near Salisbury, praised the competition as “a fine shindig,” and talked of spending time with barbecue competition contestants Friday night.
“This is what the world is missing,” Allison said of the camaraderie among the guests and especially the barbecue competitors.
Contact Hugh Fisher via the editor’s desk at 704-797-4244.

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