Praise the Lard 2015 Events

PraiseTheLardEvents2015_25In addition to the barbecue cooking itself, Praise the Lard Murphysboro Barbecue Cook-off is a three-day celebration with a variety of events, live music, and vendors. The 17th Street crew works all year to produce the weekend and we rely on many sponsors and volunteers who work tirelessly alongside us.

PraiseTheLardEvents2015_02Ryan Maglich, Chris Pritchard, and Phillip Heern. These three, and a few others not pictured, direct the set-up and tear down. Tents, banners, signage, lights, outdoor bar, stage, and anything that needs to be moved with the forklift.

PraiseTheLardEvents2015_06If you’re a judge, team, sanctioning organization, or sponsor, you communicated with Sammi Graff at some point over the past year. She works on some aspect of the cook-off all throughout the year, and she’s the master juggler of the details. You are a superstar, Sammi!

PraiseTheLardEvents2015_05Becky Streuter, our catering manager, produced the Fish Fry and the Grand Champion Buffet, our two delicious evening events.

PraiseTheLardEvents2015_03Personality plus. Kyla Silkening, Melanie Cappiocoi, and Steph Meyer ran the outside bar.

PraiseTheLardEvents2015_04Sandy Schenk and Renee Rodewald skillfully tended the Warehouse bar.

PraiseTheLardEvents2015_01Shane Walker worked in our Marion, Illinois, restaurant for several years, before moving back to Georgia to be closer to his family. For the past several years, he’s driven up for the weekend to run our merchandise tent. We love welcoming you home, Shane!

PraiseTheLardEvents2015_07Jen Graeff and Tammy Caldwell were indispensable this weekend. Thank you, ladies!

PraiseTheLardEvents2015_09Murphysboro Key Club members volunteer each year during our evening events.

PraiseTheLardEvents2015_10They help in the kitchen …

PraiseTheLardEvents2015_11… and serve food. In addition to earning community service hours, they gain valuable event experience and we’re very proud of the way they help welcome people to Murphysboro.

PraiseTheLardEvents2015_12A long-standing tradition is the Crimson Pride marching band performing on Friday afternoon.

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PraiseTheLardEvents2015_21On Thursday and Friday evenings we have a Fish Fry and a Grand Champion Buffet, designed for our local friends, sponsors, and judges. Our visiting teams and judges always remark about the way our community embraces the cook-off and welcomes our guests.

PraiseTheLardEvents2015_16The line is long and it starts early. It moves pretty quickly, though, and people are all smiles, because they know what awaits them inside.

PraiseTheLardEvents2015_17Sheila and Jim Stewart are the smiling faces our guests encounter at the welcome counter as they check in.

PraiseTheLardEvents2015_18For over 20 years on this Thursday night, Abe Keene has fried mountains of fish. Here he’s pictured with his sister Robin Keene, and his niece, Paula and Tim Lee.


PraiseTheLardEvents2015_20This year we had a record crowd and we went through 570 pounds of fish.

PraiseTheLardEvents2015_22A nod to history. Teams and judges enjoyed searching for familiar faces in these photo collages.

PraiseTheLardEvents2015_23Becky Streuter and Sandy Marks designed this lovely buffet station for Friday night.

PraiseTheLardEvents2015_24We’re the number one seller of Red Hook in the state of Illinois and we are very grateful for their support of our events. Thanks to Matt Alfredson for decorating and for the kegs of Red Hook we poured each evening!


PraiseTheLardEvents2015_27Tina, Brian, and Alex Roberts with Denise and Brad Etherton.

PraiseTheLardEvents2015_28J.T. Jenkins from the MisPits team.

PraiseTheLardEvents2015_30Hunter Neef and Brandon Graeff checking out the barbecue.

PraiseTheLardEvents2015_31Kay Lirely and Katherine Twenhafel have long been cook-off supporters.

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PraiseTheLardEvents2015_34Commanding the stage and warming up the crowd as the opening act for Murphy 500.


PraiseTheLardEvents2015_35This is the midway, packed with people visiting teams on Friday night.

PraiseTheLardEvents2015_36Murphy 500 is a popular band with Murphysboro roots. They’ve recorded in Nashville, and have a strong regional following. They drew a huge crowd Friday night.

PraiseTheLardEvents2015_29Team work makes the dream work. Mike’s signature is on every detail of of the weekend. He’s so proud to welcome teams and judges to Murphysboro.

Praise the Lard Cook OffIn addition to our staff and volunteers, these local and national businesses the immense support necessary to produce an event of this magnitude. We incredibly grateful to all of them and we hope you’ll say “thank you” by considering them as you do business.

“The Cook-off is great for Murphysboro as a town. And the only reason we are here, 28 years later, is because of the generosity of the community. The City of Murphysboro puts unlimited resources at our fingertips. The sponsors, competitors and all the volunteers come together to make this all possible and create this special stop on the barbecue circuit.” ~Mike Mills

Mark your calendars NOW for 2016. It’s always the third weekend AFTER Labor Day, so next year’s dates are September 22-24, 2016.

Stay tuned for photos and stories about the Kids’ Que, Steak Cook-off, and more. For full cook-off results and photos, click here.

All photos ©Troy Brown. Thanks, Troy, for expertly capturing the spirit of our weekend.

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