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The first United Way of Nevada County BBQ competition took place in 2007 as a contest between employees of local businesses, including The Union and the Kiwanis club. It was held in the parking lot of the Gold Miner's Inn in downtown Grass Valley. The next year, it was re-branded "BBQ Battle" and included co-ed teams rather than a battle of the sexes to encourage diversity and more participants, Two judging categories were introduced; "People's Choice" decided by public tasting and vote tickets, and “Critic’s Choice”, decided by a small handful of experienced judges whose identities are kept secret.
In 2014, the Nevada City Foreign Car Show was added to the BBQ Battle event, making it a huge draw. It grew so much, that a new venue was needed. The event was moved to Western Gateway Park in Penn Valley. The following year it was expanded to include a profession level BBQ Championship, bringing talented cooks from the Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS) to compete. The new expanded event was entitled “Grills & Grilles”.
In 2015, the Derek Sorensen Memorial Disc Golf Tournament was added to the event, organized by the Gold Country Disc Golf Association, in the memory of the son of Debbie Evans, a dedicated United Way supporter.
A couple years, we went back to our hometown roots, focusing on backyard BBQ teams, which is what makes the BBQ competition so much fun. Now this family fun fundraiser includes great food, live music, fun for kids along with the BBQ competition, a car & motorcycle show and a disc golf tournament! There's something for everyone!