Melissa Cookston Launches World Junior BBQ League

Seven-time world barbecue champion Melissa Cookston has launched the World Junior BBQ League, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to engage kids who are 14-18 years old in barbecue competitions to teach them invaluable life skills such as leadership, teamwork, strategic planning, organizational skills, time management, work ethic, emotional focus within a competitive environment, and culinary skills while participating in a wholesome and fun competition. The first World Junior BBQ League Championship will take place November 6 at AutoZone Park in Memphis, Tennessee. More information can be found on the World Junior BBQ League website at https://www.worldjrbbqleague.com/

The World Junior BBQ League is open to participants who are enrolled or in 9th – 12th grade equivalent curriculum and offers scholarships for memberships, competition costs, and supplies to those who want to participate but may not have the means to be able to participate. There is a one-time membership cost of $25 to join the World Junior BBQ League. World Junior BBQ League members are allowed to attend one BBQ Bootcamp free of charge, a $300 value, and are allowed access to a private Facebook group where they can communicate with their peers and learn from each other as well as world champion pitmasters.

“The world of competitive barbecue has taught me many lessons and made me a better person. Competitive barbecue develops so many skills in a fun, competitive environment where people meet lifelong friends and improve themselves all while enjoying a productive and positive pastime. We hope that by providing a competitive barbecue outlet specifically for young people who are enrolled or in 9th – 12th grade equivalent curriculum with a minimal barrier to entry that we can make a difference in their lives and set them up for success for years to come, through my favorite pastime, barbecue,” says Melissa Cookston, Founder of the World Junior BBQ League and the Winningest Woman in Barbecue.

As a nonprofit, the World Junior BBQ League relies on sponsors and donations in order to operate barbecue bootcamps, barbecue competitions, and provide qualifying contestants with scholarships for membership and cooking supplies. People can make donations via credit card, check, or PayPal on the donation page of the World Junior BBQ League website at this link: https://www.worldjrbbqleague.com/donate or they may donate through Amazon smile via this link: https://smile.amazon.com/ch/84-3904714. Those interested in sponsoring the World Junior Barbecue League can find information on the donate page of the World Junior BBQ League website here: https://www.worldjrbbqleague.com/donate

The World Junior BBQ League is also looking for volunteers and judges. Volunteers will help with fundraising, marketing, and event operation. Those interested in volunteering may sign up on the World Junior BBQ League website at this link: https://www.worldjrbbqleague.com/volunteer. Those interested in signing up to be a judge should already be a judge of another barbecue competition sanctioning body such as Memphis in May World Barbecue Championship, Memphis Barbecue Network, Kansas City Barbecue Society, or Steak Cookoff Association, and can sign up on the World Junior BBQ League Website at this link: https://www.worldjrbbqleague.com/judge.

“We couldn’t do it without sponsors and we want to thank Prairie Fresh, Performance Food Group, Kingsford, Tastemaker, and Yeti, as they have signed on to help us,” says Melissa Cookston, Founder of the World Junior BBQ League. “We still need help and are looking for more sponsors, volunteers, and judges, so if you would like to offer your time, talents, or money to help young people increase their life skills in a fun competitive environment while learning to cook fantastic barbecue please get in touch with us through our website at WorldJuniorBBQLeague.com.”

The 2021 World Junior BBQ League Championship is scheduled to take place at AutoZone Park in Memphis, Tennessee on November 6 and is offering $20,000 in prize money to competitors. Competitors will compete by cooking chicken thighs, spare ribs, pork butt, and a brisket flat. The fee to enter the contest is $250 and all meat will be provided by the World Junior Barbecue League. Contestants must be members of the World Junior Barbecue League to compete. If competitors face financial hardships or need assistance with equipment, they can contact the World Junior Barbecue League to be considered for a scholarship. For more information visit the World Junior BBQ League website contest page at this link: https://www.worldjrbbqleague.com/contests.

The first World Junior BBQ League regular season contest is taking place at The Great Ruleville Roast at Rule Park in Ruleville, Mississippi on September 24 and 25 and will offer over $4,000 in prizes. Competitors will compete by cooking chicken thighs, spare ribs, pork butt, and a brisket flat. The fee to enter the contest is $150 and all meat will be provided by the World Junior Barbecue League. Contestants must be members of the World Junior Barbecue League to compete. If competitors face financial hardships or need assistance with equipment, they can contact the World Junior Barbecue League to be considered for a scholarship. For more information visit the World Junior BBQ League website contest page at this link: https://www.worldjrbbqleague.com/contests.

The first World Junior BBQ League BBQ Bootcamp will take place in Horn Lake, Mississippi on October 16. The BBQ Bootcamp will offer instruction on cooking techniques and how to plan for and participate in barbecue contests by successful competition barbecue pitmasters. Anyone who is enrolled or in 9th – 12th grade equivalent curriculum may attend the BBQ Bootcamp at a cost of $300, however Junior BBQ League members are invited to attend one BBQ Bootcamp free of charge. 

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