Left to right: Drummer Mike Hansen, guitarist and keyboard player Russ Bohall, bassist Brandon Bloomfield and guitarist Roger Bradshaw are Medford band 221Fly. The group will compete Sunday at the annual Battle of the Bones. 221Fly's debut album of original rock is set for release later this summer and will be available at iTunes. - Photo by Andy Spliethof

Battle of the Bones heats up this weekend

Battle of the Bones is back this summer with its sixth barbecue competition and music festival in Central Point. Eight teams will contend for bragging rights — and cash prizes — for the best baby back ribs, pulled pork, beef brisket, chicken and chili.

New to the annual festival this year is Sunday's Best of the Bands Comp-etition. Ten bands will take the stage from noon to 5 p.m. for a shot at the first-place cash prize of $700 or second place for $300.

Fourteen bands applied for slots in the competition, says Sarah Garceau, recreation director for the Central Point Parks and Recreation Department.

"We started a voting forum that we promoted through our Battles of the Bones website, on Facebook, television and radio," says Garceau. "We selected bands for the competition based on the voting."

Portland band Veio and local band 221 Fly received the most votes, says Garceau. Other bands selected to compete are King Ghidora, Friendly Fire, UnXpected, Headwayte, Major Jones, Hired Gun and The Fifty Eights.

On Saturday, the live music lineup includes Medford bands The Roadsters, The Feds and Mercy with Lynda Morrison, along with acoustic blues guitarist Ben Rice with his band and swing band The Mixers.

Between the live music sets, visitors can play "Minute to Win It" games onstage to win T-shirts, merchandise and tasting tickets.

Barbecue, craft beers and wines will be available from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, June 25, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, June 26, at Twin Creeks Park. Visitors to the event can sample the fare for a fee and vote for their favorites. The barbecue teams also will receive points from a professional panel of judges.

Judging and tasting kick off Saturday with pulled pork and ribs, followed Sunday with beef brisket and chicken. Chili will be available for tasting both days.

If vegetarian cuisine is more to your liking, some options will be available at vendor booths.

More than 20 beers from 16 breweries will be on tap, and wines from Ledger David Cellars, Crater Lake Cellars and Shasta View Vineyards will be available for tasting. A $10 ticket includes a commemorative pint glass with 16 two-ounce tastes of beer or a wine glass with 10 one-ounce tastes of wine. Visitors can vote for their favorite brewski or vintage.

Tickets to taste each barbecue team's fare cost $10 with the exception of ribs, which cost $1 each. Tickets to taste chili cost $5. For a small fee, visitors also can register for a rib-eating contest each day. Sign up at the Foundation Booth.

America's Best Kids, a children's sports and enrichment center in Medford, will host free activities such as jump houses, an inflatable obstacle course, exhibits from ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum in Ashland, balloon artists and more. Other activities will include a mechanical bull and a caricature artist.

A total of $10,000 in prize money will go to the barbecue teams. An awards ceremony will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. Sunday to recognize the winning teams, bands, breweries and wineries.

Tasting tickets may be purchased in advance at branches of U.S. Bank and at Central Point City Hall. Admission to the event is free. Call 541-664-3321, ext. 265, or see www.battleofthebones.com.

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