The Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS) held its 30th Annual Awards Banquet on Jan. 16. During the ceremony, Smithfield named Historic BBQ the winner of the Smithfield Great Rib Rivalry, who will serve as Smithfield's Sponsored Team for the 2016 competitive season.

Smithfield launched its inaugural Great Rib Rivalry in 2015. Competing teams were judged according to performance in KCBS competitions and via Smithfield-branded contests where teams submitted videos and photos of grilling tips and recipes.

According to John Gambill, Jr. and Tony Bunce, co-founders of Historic BBQ, being named the Smithfield Great Rib Rivalry winner is something they hoped would become reality since the competition began.

"We are extremely excited to become a part of the Smithfield family," said Gambill, Jr. "Their core values and commitment to high-quality products make this a truly coveted honor, and all of us at Historic BBQ are tremendously appreciative."

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In addition to naming the Great Rib Rivalry winner, Smithfield introduced the Smokin' with Smithfield program to all KCBS teams in attendance. "Smokin' with Smithfield is a loyalty program rewarding KCBS competitors for using Smithfield product. Those teams who commit to cooking with Smithfield product in both the Pork and Rib categories during KCBS-sanctioned competitions will have the opportunity to win up to $5,000 in cash prizes in each category, as well as $180 for each perfect [180 point] score they receive from the judges," said Emily Detwiler, Smithfield senior brand manager. Teams can register for the competition at www.SmokinWithSmithfield.com.

Programs like Smokin' with Smithfield are a great fit with the competitors on the KCBS circuit because Smithfield shares the same passion for quality pork and barbecue as KCBS members. "We want to expand our connection with such dedicated barbecue enthusiasts. We congratulate KCBS on 30 years of excellence and look forward to our continued partnership to drive excitement among the KCBS member audience," said Detwiler.

Smithfield has been a partner of KCBS since 2011. For KCBS national marketing and partnership advisor Mike McCloud, it's partners like Smithfield that keep teams coming back to compete in KCBS events year after year.

"As the competition BBQ industry continues to grow and expand, it's exciting to see innovative programs like this from Smithfield to help us continue to evolve," said McCloud. "This is one of the most passionate and loyal enthusiast groups in the world, so we are delighted to work with visionary companies like Smithfield to connect with competitors and enthusiasts, and reward them along the way."