With the American Royal Barbecue competition on next week at Kemper Arena’s parking lot, around 150 teams from across the country are looking for an edge as they battle over smokers in the parking lot. So it’s suspicious timing for the American Royal’s mascot – Barbecuelooza – to be beheaded.
Sure, the official story sounds plausible. Susan Fox, sponsorship manager for the American Royal, parks the bull on a flatbed trailer in front of her Northland house. She wakes up to dogs barking at 3 a.m. In the middle of the street, Barbecuelooza has been toppled and beheaded like a statue of Saddam Hussein. Sponsorship coordinator Chad Mantooth thinks the likely culprits are rowdy teens, considering that Fox’s home isn’t far from a high school.
“He’s parked like that fairly often between events,” Mantooth says. The statue was scheduled to appear in Saturday’s American Royal parade downtown. “We have so many promotional appearances, it’s been done for five years and we’ve never had a problem.”
Barbecuelooza, according to Mantooth, is a 15-foot-long, 500-pound hunk of fiberglass. Could a few teenagers armed with the proper power tools really handle this in such a short time and not be seen in the middle of the night? Isn’t it more likely, and obvious, that this was a blatant act of terrorism by rival barbecue factions meant to demoralize the society?
We’re looking at you, Great Lenexa Barbeque Battle.
Here’s hoping Mantooth doesn’t wake up next Saturday to discover the bull’s head, covered in barbecue sauce, next to him.
But for formality’s sake, anyone who might want to return the head should call 816-569-4025. There’s a reward in it if you have it – free steaks, barbecue and, for some reason, haunted house tickets. – Peter Rugg