Kansas City Barbeque Society is a competitive cooking organization founded in 1985 by Carolyn and Gary Wells and Rick Welch. Their desire was to put together a local group for competitive barbecue. It has since grown exponentially and provides oversight to hundreds of competitions. It is the largest competitive barbecue organization in the world, with more than 15,000 members.
The Kansas City Barbeque Society is the official sanctioning body of competitive barbeque. Each year, KCBS sanctions more than 330 competitions across the country.
Competitions are usually coordinated in conjunction with a local festival or event. Teams typically begin to arrive on a Friday morning and set up their equipment. Quite often there is a minor competition on Friday night such as a chili cook-off. Competitors will begin to cook on Friday evening and then throughout the night with a turn in for the various smoked meats some time in the early afternoon on Saturday.
Events usually have a cash prize of varying amounts. Quite often these events draw crowds of spectators numbering in the thousands, and depending on the prize amount, they will draw competitors from several states.
In 2011, KCBS partnered with Sam's Club to offer the largest and richest competition in barbeque history. The Inaugural Sam's Club National Barbecue Tour consists of 20 local qualifying events, five regional events and one national championship. Teams will be competing to win a piece of the $400,000 prize purse.