KANSAS CITY, Mo. – (May 20, 2021) – To provide opportunities for championship barbeque pitmasters to go head-to-head on a global stage to compete for the title of “KCBS World Champion,” The Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS) is pleased to announce its third annual KCBS World Invitational Barbeque Competition, presented by Smithfield®. The KCBS World Invitational competition will be held Nov. 12 – 14, 2021 at the Firelake Arena in Shawnee, Oklahoma. After the development of an extensive RFP, research of over 20 locations that could potentially meet KCBS’s unique needs and 5 completed proposals to bring the KCBS World Invitational to a site, the Firelake Arena in Shawnee, OK was selected based on the site’s outstanding facilities, experience handling barbeque competitions and by providing the best opportunity for participating KCBS members.

To qualify for the opportunity to compete for the KCBS Master Series Invitational World Champion title, trophies, cash and bragging rights, Master Series pitmasters must win Grand Champion or Reserve Grand Champion at a KCBS-sanctioned Master series barbeque contest. Within the KCBS Backyard Series Invitational, amateur pitmasters compete for the title of “KCBS World Backyard Rib Champion” and “KCBS World Backyard Chicken Champion;” qualifying by winning win 1st place Ribs or 1st place Chicken at a KCBS-sanctioned Backyard contest. Pitmasters in good standing with KCBS may qualify at any of the nearly 500 contests that KCBS sanctions annually in the U.S. and over 35 countries globally between Jan. 1, 2019 and August 1, 2021.
New for 2021 is the addition of a separate “Open” contest, in which any Kansas City Barbeque Society pitmaster from around the world can enter to compete. This Master Series contest will allow Master and Backyard pitmasters to go head-to-head against each other. It will also provide additional competition opportunities for the pitmasters to win cash and prizes throughout the course of the competition weekend.
“KCBS attracts top-ranking pitmasters from all across the U.S. and over 35 countries to compete for the coveted title of KCBS World Champion,’” said Emily Detwiler, Chief Executive Officer of the Kansas City Barbeque Society. “We continue to elevate the experience of this world-class event each year.  We led an extensive search process across the U.S. to find the best location to create an amazing experience for our Pitmasters and Certified Barbeque Judges. We are delighted to partner with the Citizen Potawatomie Nation and the City of Shawnee, OK to bring the KCBS World Invitational to Firelake Arena, a venue that has hosted large-scale KCBS regular season contests for 10 years.  We are pleased to continue to partner with Smithfield, a high-quality protein brand and long-time partner within the sport of competition barbeque who is dedicated to growing the sport.”
“We are excited to return as the presenting sponsor and partner of the 2021 KCBS World Invitational,” said Laura Pall, Senior Brand Manager at Smithfield Foods. “Smithfield has supported the barbeque community for the last six years, and continuing our partnership with the largest barbeque sanctioning body is a great way to inspire barbeque and grilling enthusiasts across the nation. We pride ourselves on consistently providing, top-quality pork products that deliver winning results for both pitmasters and grilling enthusiasts alike.”
The KCBS World Invitational will also serve as the finale of the 2021 “Turkey Smoke” competition series in partnership with the National Turkey Federation. It will also serve as the final contest in the “Celebrate Real Pork” pork-chop and Kid’s ‘Que series led by the National Pork Board. Rounding out the fun will be a cocktail contest in partnership with the Holladay Distillery, home of 360 Vodka, Kansas City's hometown vodka.   
Certified Barbeque Judge and Volunteer registration will be available beginning August 9th on the KCBS website. Judges should be willing to Judge, Volunteer in the Judging Tent, or be a Table Captain. All Teams, Certified Barbeque Judges and Certified Table Captains must be KCBS members in good standing. Ensure your membership is in good standing and will be during the event at www.kcbs.us or call the office at 1-800-963-5227.  We will also need miscellaneous Event Volunteers throughout the weekend, so please let us know if you’d like to Volunteer without being involved in the judging process.
In addition, KCBS will host its annual awards banquet at the Firelake Arena on Saturday, November 13; honoring 2021 KCBS Team of the Year pitmaster winners, key ambassadors, and those recognized with other special KCBS awards. Banquet tickets will be available when Team and Judge registration opens on August 9th.
"The City of Shawnee is thrilled to partner with Firelake Arena and the Citizen Potawatomi Nation to bring the 2021 KCBS World Invitational to central Oklahoma," stated City of Shawnee, OK Director of Tourism, Stacy Cramer Moore.  "We've hosted other barbeque events and have now stepped up to the "big leagues" with KCBS.  Shawnee is host to several premier athletic, agricultural, and live entertainment events.  I see the 2021 KCBS World Invitational as one more jewel in our Shawnee destination crown.  We love having the Pitmasters in our community and we hope to show them a great time while they are here."
We encourage you to make your hotel reservations in advance. We currently have two hotel options with group rates for KCBS Members.
  • A block of rooms is being held at special KCBS rates at the Holiday Inn Express Shawnee, OK at rates of $79 for King or $89 for Double Queens (plus tax and any fees) for Reservations call at 405-275-8880 and reference Group “Kansas City BBQ Society” for your discounted rate.
  • Additionally, The Grand Casino Hotel Resort in Shawnee, OK has room rates are $119/night plus any taxes for either a King or Queen Double.  Please call 405-964-7777 and ask for the “KCBS World Invitational” block.  
To learn more about the KCBS World Invitational and to follow along for future updates for Pitmaster, Certified Barbeque Judge and Volunteer registration, visit www.KCBSInvitational.com.