ALBANY -- It didn't take Sam Shugart long to start lining up events to coincide with the first Southwest Georgia Music and Arts Festival planned for the weekend of Oct. 12-14.
After The Albany Herald announced the festival in its Wednesday edition, Shugart finalized a deal later Wednesday that will bring the annual Que 4 Kids barbecue competition to the Exchange Club Fairgrounds on Oct. 13.
"Look at the prize packages," Shugart said in an email sent to supporters of the Southwest Georgia Music and Arts Festival. "They will bring a crowd of cooks and fans to our festival. The better they do, the better we'll do."
With Crown Networking of Albany serving as the title sponsor for the Que 4 Kids competition, more than $17,000 in cash prizes is guaranteed to the best professional cooks and backyard barbecuers in a number of categories.
"We level the playing field," Tony Mathis with Que 4 Kids said. "In addition to barbecue, ribs -- pork, babyback or spares -- we also cook pork chops: loin, center cut, bone-in, your choice. We also cook hot dogs, any way you dress them up.
"You say you don't think a hot dog is a challenge? The winning hot dog pays $1,000. Sit down and think about that for a minute."
In an effort to get kids interested in competition barbecuing, each team that competes in the Que 4 Kids event must include at least one participating child age 16 or under. Also, half of the competition judges are kids, and all of the net proceeds from the event go to kids' charities.
Prize payout includes $5,000 for grand champion, $2,000 for reserve champion, and $1,000 for the third-place team and for first place in categories such as hot dogs, ribs and a people's choice winner.
Entry in the Que 4 Kids competition is $350 before Sept. 13 and $450 after that date. A non-refundable deposit of $200 will hold a spot in the competition until Oct. 1. Each team that registers will get a camper space with full utilities service and four armbands that allow entry to the festival.
Additional information about Que 4 Kids is available by contacting Mathis at (904) 545-0433, online at que4kidsaol.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/que4kids.com.