BBQ Crawl host will take on local fest

When Ribfest returns with a new name in a new location and featuring a new competition, it will bring with it a television star.

Diva Q will be coming to the All-American BBQ Festival to be held July 18-21 at the Warren County Fairgrounds.

Diva Q (Danielle Dimovski), host of BBQ Crawl and a veteran of two seasons of BBQ Pitmasters, will test her abilities at the Kansas City BBQ Society (KCBS) state championship competition.

“I do anywhere from 15 to 20 BBQ competitions a year,” Diva Q said.

She also makes time for BBQ Crawl. “My TV show BBQ Crawl is currently on air with the Travel Channel airing on Wednesday nights at 8 p.m.,” Diva Q said.

But she’s not bringing an entourage to capture the event on video. She’s coming just to compete.

“I am not coming with any TV crew at all,” she said. “I am coming in solo to do this contest.”

Melissa Anderson, Warren County Chamber of Business and Industry (WCCBI) director of chamber operations, said the organization reached out to a number of competitors, largely through social media, to announce the event and see if they would be in attendance. “It was one of our goals to try to bring in competitors,” she said.

The biggest name, or at least the only one with her own television show, was Diva Q.

“We got the call this week that her schedule opened up and she was able to come in and compete,” Anderson said. “I’ve watched the show, I was very excited when she called us.”

In order to become a qualifying event for the Jack Daniels World Championship Invitational and American Royal BBQ Contest – two of the largest invitational barbecue events in the country, according to Anderson – at least 15 KCBS competitors must compete in all four categories: pork ribs, pork, brisket, and chicken. “We have in excess of 15 teams,” she said.

In addition to the competitors, judges and would-be judges are also coming in from far and wide.

A Kansas City BBQ Society judge certification class will be held starting on Thursday, July 18, at First Lutheran Church in Warren.

“We have people coming from absolutely all over to take that class,” Anderson said. “It’s been overwhelming and exciting to see the response to that in our first year.”

Barbecue enthusiasts at the All-American BBQ Festival will not be able to buy products from the KCBS competitors. “The KCBS is pure competition cooking,” Anderson said.

Making sure visitors don’t go away hungry is what the five professional ribbers are for.