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Past Inductees


Dr. Rich Davis

Dr. Rich Davis was born in Joplin, Missouri, and is best known for taking his barbecue sauce recipe from his kitchen to grocery stores and other kitchens across the country. Dr. Davis created KC Masterpiece, the Barbecue Sauce, which paved the way for dozens of new, premium-priced barbecue sauces. He was named one of America’s Most Famous Barbecuers and is confident visitors to Kansas City will discover for themselves why he named his barbecue sauce after the city he believes serves the best barbecue in the world. 

Fred Gould 

Fred Gould (deceased) was involved in both the Memphis in May and Kansas City Barbecue Society Barbecue communities for over 20 years. He worked tirelessly as an organizer, promoter, meat inspector, electrician, RV mechanic, cook, master judge, and table captain, just to name a few. His rules and guidelines as a meat inspector have been adopted by many and are viewed as Standard for Inspections at today’s contest. He was often the man behind the scenes and loved being involved in barbecue and the folks connected with it.


Gary and Carolyn Wells

Gary and Carolyn Wells moved to Kansas City in 1976. In 1982 they entered the American Royal Barbeque Contest. At that time, it was held at Crown Center. The couple entered solely in the ribs category, cooked on two borrowed grills, and won.
As competition barbecue grew in the metro area, the couple, along with Rick Welch, decided to start a club. In 1986, the Kansas City Barbeque Society was founded. Incorporated in 1987, Gary appointed a Board, developed rules and regulations, and developed a digital tabulation system. Shortly thereafter, the couple was recruited to serve on the American Royal Steering Committee. They served on that committee for 15 years. KCBS is now over 17,000 members strong, has certified over 22,000 Barbeque Judges, and sanctions over 400 contests throughout the U.S. and internationally.
Gary passed away in 2007 and Carolyn remains the Executive Director of the Kansas City Barbeque Society.


Speed Herrig

Speed Herrig is known as the Sauceman, and is one of the founding members of the Iowa Barbecue Society. He owns Cookies Food Products and has been in the barbecue sauce business for over 35 years. He took a small one-man operation and turned it into one of the largest regional sauce manufacturers in the United States. Speed and his staff travel across the country each year in his famous “Rib Wagon”, bringing BBQ to crowds of sauce lovers.



Mike Mills

Mike Mills is a champion pitmaster also known as the Legend. He has seven nationally acclaimed barbecue restaurants and is a four-time World Champion and three-time Grand World Champion at Memphis in May. Mike is the only barbecue with top-security clearance to board Air Force One and has received acclamations including Best Ribs in America in 2007 by Bon Appetit and Best BBQ in America in 2009 by Travel and Leisure.


John Willingham

John Willingham is a Memphis native who has created his own line of sauces, rubs, and marinades and invented the famous W’ham Turbo Cooker. In 1986, John’s offset (indirect) cooker patent was read into the United States Congressional Record. John used the first offset cooker, which he built in 1979, in the 1981 Memphis in May contest where he won 2nd place ribs and Reserve Grand Champion. Mr. Willingham, congratulations on being inducted into the Hall of Fame.