Flames on the Flint takes over boat basin

Published 7:50 pm Friday, March 13, 2015


Lee Smith, competing with Real South BBQ trims the brisket. — Shelby Farmer

They started rolling in Thursday, and by mid-morning Friday, Hatcher Road was unrecognizable as the 73 barbecue teams competing in the Flames on the Flint Barbecue Cook-off began taking over the Earle May Boat Basin.

Most of the teams came from various regions of Georgia, but some traveled from Virginia, Louisiana, Kentucky and New Jersey.

One of the teams, The BBQ Ninja, traveled from Meansville, Ga. for the second year in a row.

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The ninja, Rodney Ellington, said the competition is fun but stressful. It helps a little that many of the competitors already know each other.

“We pretty much know everyone here,” Ellington said. “This competition circuit is like one big family.”

The BBQ Ninja team was once Smokey Butts, however they kept competing against several “Smoking Butts” and decided it was time for a name change.

“Some friends hung the name ‘BBQ Ninja’ on me because they said I snuck up and stole trophies every now and then,” Ellington said.

Across the road, the Real South BBQ team members from Swainsboro, Ga. settled in during their first visit to Bainbridge.

“Never thought I’d be in Bainbridge, Ga.,” said team member Lonnie Smith.

Smith said while the team had a few navigation problems on the drive in, they’re ready to compete and serve up some barbecue.

While the teams are cooking for the grand prize, hungry attendees can pay to sample 10 teams’ barbecue and enter their favorite into the People’s Choice competition. All proceeds of the People’s Choice competition will go to Family Connection.