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Governors Program

How can I become an American Royal Governor – do I have to be invited, or elected?

The American Royal Governors program is open to everyone. You do not need an invitation, nor is there a governing board that elects members. Our Governors share a common love for the American Royal and our mission and purpose.

Becoming a Governor is as easy as completing the enrollment form located on the Governors page under 'Get Involved' at which you can complete and submit online with credit card payment. Or, you can download an enrollment form and mail it in with your check.

What is the purpose of the American Royal Governor program?

The Governor program was started in the 1960’s to give individuals and families a way to support the American Royal while enjoying the many activities during our Fall season. Many of our American Royal board members, committee members and volunteers come from the ranks of our Governors program.

The program is a way for you to get involved with a 115 year old Kansas City institution, and join fellow Governors in sharing your passion for the Royal.

What are the benefits of the Governors program?

The benefits of each Governorship level are listed on the Governors page at The cost for each level is listed.

Beyond those benefits, Governors have multiple opportunities to network with leaders from business, civic and social circles from across the region.

Is my purchase of a Governor’s membership tax-deductible? If so, how much?

Yes – the American Royal Association is a 501(c)(3) organization. Your purchase is tax-deductible as follows:

Family Governor – $502 is tax- deductible
Individual Governor – $265 is tax-deductible
Lt. Governor - not tax-deductible
Royal Ranger – not tax-deductible

When will I receive my pin?

Usually within two weeks of your payment.

Do I need printed tickets for any of the events?

No – just show your credentials. For both Kemper Arena and Hale Arena events, there is a designated seating area for Governors. Seats are not pre-assigned.

Can I use my Governor’s pin as a credential?

Your Pin is your primary credential.

Can I bring my spouse or another guest for free to events with my credential?

The Royal Ranger, Lt. Governor and Governor credentials are for the Governor only. Your spouse or guest will need to enroll as a Governor to accompany you to all events at no charge, or you may purchase additional tickets to ticketed events. You may purchase a $25 guest pass to select parties, limit one guest pass per party. These parties include both the Barbecue VIP party and the Governor’s VIP Deck at the American Royal ProRodeo.

What if I forget my credential?

Visit the Administrative Offices at the American Royal. Your Governorship will be verified and you will be given a temporary credential.

What if I lose my Governor’s pin?

You may purchase a replacement pin for $30.00.

When does my Governorship expire?

Your Governorship expires March 31 of each year. Governorships are renewed annually.

How will I get more information on the ticketed events and parties?

Please refer to your Governor’s Welcome Book and be sure to visit for the most up to date information about the event.

I get free admission to many American Royal events on the American Royal “grounds.” What do the “grounds” include?

The American Royal grounds includes the American Royal Building, Hale Arena, all other exposition halls within the American Royal building; Scott Pavilion, Kemper Arena, and any Governor’s tented events on the grounds hosted by the American Royal .

Your Governorship entitles you to free admission to all Horse Shows, the Livestock Show, Livestock Auction, the World Series of Barbecue®, and Invitational Youth Rodeo.

During the ProRodeo, Governors are invited to watch the excitement from their own, private deck in Hale Arena, complete with food and drinks.

Some (please refer to your Governor’s Welcome Book for further detail) of the excluded events include Grapes and Steaks, TableSteaks and the Business Luncheon. We hope you will show your support of the American Royal by purchasing tickets to those events.

How many Parking Passes can I get?

Depending on the category of Governor membership, you will receive different types and numbers of Parking Passes. You may purchase additional VIP season parking passes for $100 each. The parking passes expire at the end of the American Royal Fall season.

Can I let a non-Governor use my credential for an event?

The credential is your exclusive, non-transferable passport to the Fall season of American Royal events.

Regarding my $25 Marketplace certificate, if I spend less than $25 will I get change?

The certificates are good for the full $25 at the vendor of your choice, and change cannot be given. The Marketplace vendors will be reimbursed in full for redeemed certificates, so we encourage you to use its full value. The certificate is good at the American Royal Season events excluding the American Royal Barbecue.

Does my Governorship entitle me to any ticket discounts for any non-American Royal events at Kemper Arena?

Your Governorship supports the American Royal Association and all American Royal events. We deeply appreciate your support, but are unable to extend your benefits to non-American Royal events at Kemper Arena.

Do my free admission and free parking benefits extend to other events at the American Royal complex, such as the Pet Expo or Home Remodeling Show?

The American Royal complex is owned by the City of Kansas City, Missouri and is managed by AEG venue management company. Therefore, American Royal Governorship benefits do not extend to these third party events.

World Series of Barbecue® - BBQ TEAMS General Info

CONTEST DATE - When is the American Royal Barbecue contest?

Traditionally, the contest is held the first full weekend in October.
This year’s event is scheduled for October 3-6, 2013

Thursday, October 3:

Teams begin load-in from 7:00 am - 9:00 pm.
Certified BBQ Judging Class
Fast Eddy’s Poker Tournament

Friday, October 4:

Teams continue load-in from 7:00 am - 3:00 pm
Party of the Year Contest
Live music and a fireworks finale

Saturday, October 5:

Teams are allowed load-in from 7:00 am - 10:00 am.
Invitational Contest and Open Side Dish and Dessert Contest
Kid’s Que Contest
Barbecue Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
Live music and fireworks finale

Sunday, October 6:

Open Meat Contest

TICKETS - How do I purchase tickets to the barbecue?

Teams competing in the contest can purchase wristbands for $15 which are valid for admission the entire weekend. (Teams will automatically receive a predetermined number of wristbands based on space size.) Teams may also purchase one-day tickets (good for one day, either Friday or Saturday) for $10. Wristbands and team tickets may be purchased online via the team application or by accessing their account at a later time to make additional purchases.

The deadline for purchasing one-time entry tickets for $10 is SEPTEMBER 6, 2013.

GUEST PARKING - Where is the best place for my guests to park?

There is a limited amount of public parking in the West Bottoms District fills up quickly on Friday.

Early arrivals – before 5 pm on Friday there will be surface lots available in the West Bottom District.

Later arrivals –after 5 pm there will be police officers onsite to direct traffic; if the parking lots in the West Bottoms are full then the streets will be closed. Guests can go to one of the satellite parking lots and ride a FREE shuttle to the grounds.

Please note that most of the West Bottom lots are privately owned so pricing and security are determined by the lot owners. Each BBQ team will be given three (3) Liberty Lot (16th and Liberty) passes for their team members. These passes have in-and-out privileges, but the passes MUST be displayed on the vehicle while in the Liberty Lot. Vehicles with passes attempting to park in the Liberty Lot after 5 pm may be refused entrance if the lot is full or the streets are closed. Please come as early as possible or make plans to park in a satellite lot and ride the FREE shuttle.

Satellite Parking:
The American Royal is working with the City to provide patron parking in specified city lots ( Please note: the American Royal does not receive any of the parking fees). The American Royal will then provide patrons with FREE shuttle service to the west entrance of Kemper Arena. Our FREE shuttles will run continuously from 5 pm Friday through 2 am Saturday and 10 am Saturday through 2 am Sunday.

Please check the Public Information page under the World Series of Barbecue® for more detailed information.
We discourage parking in the adjacent residential areas as this is disruptive to our neighbors.

Due to a change in Federal law, subsidized transportation services such as the ATA are not allowed to compete against other transportation companies for non-public bus services. Therefore, we will exclusively be using traditional school buses instead of the ATA buses used in the past.

SPACE ASSIGNMENTS - How are space assignments determined?

The American Royal Barbecue's contest results are not affected by the location of the team space. Over the 33-year history of the event, teams located throughout the grounds have won the contest.

The Space Assignment Committee consists of a group of experienced volunteers who meet to assign spaces to the teams. They realize that teams have competed and entertained from the same space for many years. Therefore, if teams want to guarantee being assigned the same space as last year, their application must be submitted and paid in full by July 12.

For your convenience, an online map will be available in September to direct guests to your team locations.

NOTE: A midnight quiet time will be enforced in Lot B during the entire event. If you plan to party past this time, please sign-up for a space in Lots A, C, D or the North Lot. Certain Lot B spaces not requested by returning teams by July 12 will be held for Invitational contestants.

The American Royal is aware and takes pride in the fact that many handicapped individuals participate in our event. We cannot attempt to certify the number of handicapped individuals on any team; therefore we cannot hold certain spaces for handicapped individuals. If you or someone on your team is handicapped and would like to request a space near turn in, please request the location that you prefer as soon as possible in order to have priority for space assignment.

The Chief Cook always speaks for a team. If a team wishes to change their name, the Chief Cook should inform the Space Assignment Committee. A team changing their name will not lose their previous year's space if they enter before July 12 and inform the Committee of such action.

All decisions by the Space Assignment Committee are considered final and cannot be appealed. Requests for clarification can be made in writing via email with applicable background information. The Committee will attempt to explain any preference decision, so please provide all applicable information in the request. Errors in following procedure can be reversible.

VOLUNTEER - How can I volunteer to help?

Planning Volunteer: If you are interested in the monthly planning committees for the American Royal World Series of Barbecue®, email A staff person will contact you with more information.

Event Day Volunteer: If you are interested in volunteering on Wednesday, October 2- Sunday, October 6, visit the Get Involved tab at or e-mail Kristie Larson at

JUDGES - How many judges does this contest need?

We need one judge for every team that competes. In the past we have had approximately 100 teams in the Invitational Contest and 500 teams in the Open Contest. We also need a small number of alternate judges in the event a judge does not arrive in time to be a part of the contest. We also need judges for The Open Side Dish Contest, Kid’s Que, and Barbecue Sauce Contest.

To apply to be a judge for any of these events, please visit the Judging page to fill out one of our judging applications.

JUDGES - How are judges selected?

Judging spots are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. All interested judges must apply online.

Visit the Judging page to submit an application or email

TABLE CAPTAINS - If I can't be a judge, can I be a table captain?

Yes! We have 6 judges per table, and each table has an assigned Table Captain. These Captains must be experienced to ensure that their tables are run in accordance with KCBS regulations.

Table Captains must submit the Table Captain application which can be found online on the Judging page at Table Captains do not volunteer via the Get Involved Volunteer page. Please direct any questions to

To learn more about KCBS rules, contact the Kansas City Barbeque Society at 816-765-5891 or visit

How can I become a vendor at the American Royal World Series of Barbecue®?

The American Royal BBQ Expo is a marketplace of grill vendors, barbecue accessories, western apparel, household goods, jewelry, books, and more.

We are seeking vendors who sell the latest in barbecue innovations such as smokers, grills, accessories, tools, and cookbooks. We feel this will be a nice complement to the other vendors who do not carry barbecue-specific items. Our goal is to offer a rich and exciting shopping experience for both the teams and the public.

The Expo Marketplace will also be home to the Viking Mobile Kitchen where cooking demos will be held, and will also include a large kid's area with rides and activities.

Food Court
The Barbecue strives to offer the public a large selection of festival food – from barbecue to burgers, and everything in between: hot dogs, onion rings, French fries, breakfast items, smoothies, soft drinks, and desserts, are all desired. We want good quality, good variety and good value. Vendors wanting to sell barbecue must smoke it or grill it on site. The public wants authentic barbecue at the American Royal and we count on our food vendors to provide this quality.

If you are interested in becoming a vendor at the BBQ Expo or Food Court, please visit Get Involved and then click on the Vendors tab at or email

World Series of Barbecue® - KC Masterpiece Invitational Contest

What is the date for the Invitational Contest?

The Invitational Contest will be held Saturday, October 5, 2013

How do I enter the Invitational Contest?

You must qualify for the Invitational Contest by winning a Grand Champion in a contest that meets all American Royal qualifications and is held by an American Royal approved sanctioning body.

How much does it cost to enter the Invitational Contest?

There is no fee to enter the Invitational Contest; however there is a $50 refundable deposit to reserve your space if the Invitational team will NOT be participating in the Open Contest.

If applicable, how do I pay for my deposit?

Please include a check with your entry form and return to the American Royal. After the competition is over your deposit check will be returned to you.

How much is a competition space for the Invitational Contest?

Each qualifying Invitational team will receive a FREE 20’ x 25’ competition space. Invitational teams wishing to compete in the Open Contest as well, must pay for their space using the application available online at Teams participating in the Invitational AND the Open Contests pay for a space in the Open Contest and compete from it for BOTH contests.

What is the date for the Open Contest and how do teams enter?

The Oklahoma Joe’s Open Contest will be held Sunday, October 6, 2013. ALL teams interested in competing in the Open Contest MUST go to our website, to complete the online application.

Invitational teams are NOT automatically entered in the Open Contest.

Are Invitational teams required to enter the Open Contest?

No, Invitational teams are not required to enter the Open Contest, but they MUST complete the separate online application if they choose to do so. Invitational teams participating in the Open Contest will be required to pay for their competition space as well as any other additional items needed.

What about additional team needs like electricity?

20 amp electrical hook-ups are available for $35 each. Each team is allowed a maximum of 3 electrical hook-ups.

If competing in both the Invitational and Open contests, it is only necessary to pay for electrical hook-ups one time.

Where do I send my Invitational application?

Invitational Contest – American Royal World Series of Barbecue®
1701 American Royal Ct.
Kansas City, MO 64102

Who do I contact for additional information?

Please go to, click on the Events Tab, then the World Series of Barbecue for additional information. You may also email