COLUMBIA – Wooden pigs with arms and legs crafted from bottle caps – that’s one of the prizes winners of the barbecue contest at the Roots ’N’ Blues ’N’ BBQ Festival will take home Saturday.
“It’s not your typical satin ribbons that are mass produced,” Lisa Bartlett, who created the awards, said. “We craft each award with love by hand.”
Bartlett, owner of Artlandish Gallery on Walnut Street, and Mira Stoddard, Bartlett’s friend and creative partner, were commissioned to make five trophies, one for the winner of each category of the barbecue contest.
“We’ve become the trophy and award artists of the community,” Bartlett said. She also crafted the awards for the True/False Film Festival, Citizen Jane Film Festival and Art in the Park this past year.
She made a similar mixed-media trophy for the True/False Festival.
“I like found object type stuff,” Bartlett said. “Bottle caps are kind of funky.”
Each year the barbecue coordinator chooses the prizes for the barbecue competition at the festival. This year’s coordinator, Millie Rambis, chose a prize with the competitors in mind. Rambis said guitars have been a popular prize for barbecue champions in the past.
The Grand Champion and the Reserve Grand Champion both receive a monetary prize and a hand-painted guitar, one by Bartlett and the other by Stoddard.
“It’s barbecue, so it’s all about chickens, cows and pigs,” Bartlett said. All of these animals are depicted on the guitars.
Bartlett also made the 45 ribbons that will be awarded to those who place sixth through tenth.
“We had an assembly line going,” Bartlett, who enlisted help from friend Linda Baker to complete the ribbons, said.
Polly Sweitzer of Thumper Entertainment initially approached Bartlett to do the art for the festival. Bartlett designed the poster art, as well as four 10-foot-tall panels that will be displayed within the festival grounds.
“They took my art and made it 10 feet tall,” Bartlett said. “It’s just amazing.”
Bartlett will be selling prints, T-shirts and necklaces at a merchandise booth at the festival.
The winners will be announced at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Flat Branch Stage.
This article is the result of a conversation I had with Millie Rambis, the barbecue coordinator of Roots ‘n Blues. I had called her initially for a different article I wrote. During our conversation, she mentioned these handmade trophies that were made by a local artist. I told my editor, John Schneller, this, and he suggested I call up the artist to see if there was a story here. There was.
I like this story a lot because it isn’t the typical coverage of this festival. It’s a story that hasn’t been written before in the Missourian. It also appeared in print on the front page.