Residents enjoy barbecue at Chelsea’s Fire at the Foothills

Published 5:40 pm Monday, April 17, 2023

By NOAH WORTHAM | Staff Writer

CHELSEA – Hundreds of residents flocked to sample barbecue and enjoy the day at the city of Chelsea’s annual Fire at the Foothills event.

The event was hosted by the Chelsea Kiwanis Club outside of the Chelsea Community Center on Saturday, April 15 from 1 to 4 p.m.

During the event, 17 different vendors were present for attendees to sample their barbecue while also participating in an officially sanctioned Kansas City Barbecue Society judging.

“These judges are trained on how to properly judge the barbecue based on taste and texture,” said Robbie Hayes, county commissioner and member of the Chelsea Kiwanis Club. “They judge the barbecue based on certain criteria to give out awards. And then, at the end of all that, they also have something called the People’s Choice Award.”

There were tip jars at each vendors station during the event and whichever vendor received the most tips from attendees at the end of the event received the People’s Choice award.

“(Everyone is) free to come in,” Hayes said. “There’s no requirement, just come and enjoy and have a good time while you’re here and socialize with your buddies from the community. Maybe meet people you’ve never met before because they all have a like of barbecue and a like of doing things locally.”

After the event ended, it was announced that the 2023 Fire at The Foothills Grand Champion was judged to be Smokey Bee’s BBQ from Waynesboro Mississipi. The Reserve Champion for the event was LeeLaQ from Cullman, Alabama and Chelsea’s The Meat Sweats won the People’s Choice Award.

Various local organizations had tents set up and also served barbecue during the event, including, members of Chelsea Baptist Church, members of Chelsea Presbyterian Church and students from Chelsea High School.

“What we do when we show up to events like this is just try to serve community without expectation (and) try to build relationships through the universal language of food,” said James Daniels, pastor of Chelsea Presbyterian Church. “We think barbecue is a great way to do that.”

Chelsea City Councilmember Scott Weygand helps to organize the event every year and expressed his thanks to those who help make it possible.

“Major thank you for the hard work from the Kiwanis Club, and key club at the high school, they did great, working this event,” he said. “Also, the COPS’s and city staff were all part of making this happen.”

More information on Fire at the Foothills can be found on its official Facebook page at