Get your appetites ready

CENTRAL POINT — The heady aroma of barbecue will linger over the Jackson County Expo this weekend.

More than seven tons of chicken, beef, seafood and sausage will be cooked during the third annual Battle of the Bones today, Saturday and Sunday. There also will be live bands, offerings from microbreweries and a host of other activities.

Founded by Smokin' Man Barbecue owner Scott Knapp in 2006, the competition began at a local winery with limited parking and just a few food sponsors. In 2007, Knapp moved the event to Emigrant Lake and recruited more sponsors, though parking still was an issue.

"We really learned along the way about getting food sponsors and making this a regional event," Knapp said.

This year, he arranged a partnership with the city of Central Point and moved the show to the Expo, where some 10,000 pounds of beef and 5,000 pounds of chicken, seafood and sausage will meet its end on smoky grills.

A percentage of the proceeds will provide scholarships through the city's Parks and Recreation Foundation.

Each day will be devoted to specific flavors: today, it's seafood; Saturday is devoted to sausage and chicken; Sunday, will be all beef. Visitors will receive 10 "tasting tickets" and one to two judging coins to weigh in on the "people's choice" awards.

"It's been fun to watch this thing blossom," Knapp said. "I think what really picked us up and took us to the next level was the partnership with the city of Central Point."

Matt Samitore, Central Point's parks and recreation manager, said the partnership will help the city create an identity and provide camp and childcare scholarships as well as park improvements.

He said the event helps build the city's focus on agriculture, the county fair and the annual rodeo.

"Besides being a fun event with some great barbecue, for Central Point residents this event is going to mean scholarships for various parks and recreation camps and (money) to finish the (water) spray park in Don Jones Park," he said.

"We're anticipating this will be one of two different annual events for the city," he said. "The ultimate plan is for this event to become the state finals (for barbecue competition)."

Meanwhile, he has ambitious plans for the Battle of the Bones. "This event is going to become the largest event on the West Coast next year if I have anything to do about it," he said.

For event details and a schedule of music, kids' activities and judging sessions, visit the Web site at:

Buffy Pollock is a freelance writer living in Medford. E-mail her at

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