By Libby Hopkins

Mark Poppell of Plant City knows a thing or two about barbeques. He and his friend Fred Williams came up with the idea to hold a barbeque contest in Plant City after they attended the Big Pig Jig in Vienna, Georgia back in 2001. They called their barbeque contest “Pig Jam” and it’s now in its tenth year. Poppell and Williams have competed in the barbeque event for the last ten years as well.

Pig Jam will be held on Saturday, November 17, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Randy Larson Softball Four-Plex in Plant City. People come from all over the country to be a part of Pig Jam and the Kansas City BBQ Society recognizes it as one of their sanctioned events. “We have received nothing but enthusiastic and overwhelming support from the community,” Poppell said. “Plant City is the greatest community in the world and the residents are very supportive of our event and how we are trying to grow it.” This year’s competition will have over 80 professional and amateur teams competing for over $16,000 in prize money as well as some big shiny trophies. Many of the teams that will compete at Pig Jam have been seen on T.V. networks such as the Food Network and the Travel Channel. Some of the teams have even been on the T.V. show “Pit Masters.” Poppell is thrilled that the family friendly event draws over 15,000 people each year.

In addition to the barbeque competition, Pig Jam will be having its first dessert and barbeque sauce competitions this year. Contestants have a chance to win a $100 in these new competitions. Poppell would like to see everyone who attends Pig Jam to also check out the Strawberry Classic Car Show and all that downtown Plant City has to offer. “We want to let people know that if they come to the Tenth Annual Plant City Pig Jam, we guarantee that they will have a great time and will want to come back year after year,” Poppell said.

For more information on Pig Jam or if you would like to compete in one of the contests, visit and click on “events.” The Randy Larson Softball Four-Plex is located at 1900 South Park Road in Plant City. Admission is free for the event and parking is $5.


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Libby Hopkins has been a part of the Brandon community for more than 30 years. She is a graduate of USF with a degree in journalism. She has been a freelance writer for The Osprey Observer Newspaper since 2008. She also the Executive Director of Center Place Fine Arts and Civic Association. She is a dog mom to her rescue dog, Marshall. She loves being a part of the Brandon Community and she loves sharing positive news about our community.