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4-H Tailgating Cookery Contest

Florida 4-H is excited to announce the First Annual Florida 4-H Tailgating Contest sponsored by Sonny’s BBQ & Winn Dixie Supermarkets on October 3rd.  The purpose of this new contest is to promote the use of animal protein in the diet by teaching the art and science of safely preparing beef, pork, poultry, and seafood in an outdoor setting. Investment in this activity will provide 4-H youth with life skills, including decision making, healthy lifestyle choices, and communication.

More information about the state contest can be found online, but because this is a new event, we will be offering workshops and day camps at the district level to help volunteers and youth prepare.  Dates and locations will be posted in early spring 2017.

2017 Northwest District Tailgating District Contest– Saturday, July 22, 2017 @ at the Washington County Agricultural Center, 1424 Jackson Ave. Chipley, FL 32428

  • Bay, Calhoun, Escambia, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Wakulla, Walton, Washington
  • Coordinator: Mark Mauldin

Tailgating Resource Guide for Volunteers

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Who is eligible? All bona fide Florida 4-H members who are between 11 and 18 years of age prior to September 1, 2016.  All participants are REQUIRED to prepare their recipe in the presence of a parent or guardian prior to the contest.  There must be at least four participants in a protein division for that division to be included in the contest.  For example, if only two 4Hers sign-up for the seafood division seafood will not be included in the contest. If something like this happens we’ll encourage the few that did sign-up for the division in question to move to another protein.  No teams or pairs will be allowed. Contestants must compete as individuals.
  • What will the contest consist of?  Contestants will have 2.5 hours to prepare a beef, pork, poultry (1/2 chicken or turkey breast must be presented to judges), or seafood (shrimp) dish on a provided 14” charcoal grill.  Electric charcoal starters are not permitted. Processed meats (bacon, sausage, etc.) can’t be used in the preparation of the judged proteins.  More information about contest logistics and scoring is found here @ Florida 4-H Tailgating Contest.  For the poultry division the contestants must begin the competition with a whole packaged chicken or a whole boneless turkey breast. (The poultry division is a little different because it is serving as the qualifier for the national poultry BBQ contest.) The State winner for poultry (chicken/turkey) will be eligible to participate in the National competition in November 16-17, 2016 in Louisville, KY.  For rules, visit for more information.
  • How do I learn more?  A twenty minute “How & What to Do” video is posted to Tailgate Contest Videos
  • State Contest- Saturday, September 10, 2016 with grills to be started at 9 am Straughn IFAS Extension Professional Development Center  2142 Shealy Drive PO Box 110225 Gainesville, FL 32611-0225  Coordinators – Chad Carr, Brian Estevez, Sonja Crawford
  • How do I sign up? 4-H members must meet contest requirements and notify their county agent.  County agents should then email Chad Carr @ and a password will be issued for those 4-H members to register on Eventbrite by 5 pm on the date 10 days prior to the contest.  The cap of 10 4-H members per protein category will be first-come-first serve.
  • What will I receive for participating? All participants will receive a cooking thermometer and a $25 voucher from Winn-Dixie Supermarkets to purchase ingredients for the contest.  After the competition, all participants will receive a $15 gift certificate to eat at a Sonny’s BBQ location.
  • What can I win?  For each protein category- First place = $500 cash award; Second place = $300 cash award and an invitation to compete against the two high placing individuals at the State Championship Contest
  • The State Championship Contest will be held on Saturday, September 10, 2016 (UF/UK Game) @ the Straughn IFAS Extension Professional Development Center University of Florida Campus, Gainesville, FL
  • What if I win my protein at the State Contest– 1st place- $1,500 college scholarship- 2nd place- $1,000- for all four proteins.
  • Will I get to do anything else cool?  An award reception will occur outside Gate 3 of the Stephen C. O’Connell Center starting 3 hours prior to kickoff including a large public promotion facilitated by Sonny’s and Winn Dixie.  Additionally, award winners will be interviewed on the Gator IMG Radio Network during the third hour of the Gator Pre-Game Show.

Videos to help you prepare:

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