Rodeo Austin kicks off with annual BBQ cook off

Rodeo Austin fun has kicked off with the annual event's BBQ cook off Saturday. Teams from all over submitted their BBQ all day long to be judged.

"Austin BBQ has grown so much in the past 20 years, it’s unbelievable, it’s become a huge event," said Lance Struhall with the Coco Moo Cookers.

Struhall has been with different cook off teams at Rodeo Austin for almost 25 years. "We’ve got a total of eight competition cooks that are all competing, and this is a busy day today," he said.

They’ve been working on their brisket, beans, ribs, and chicken all night to get ready to hand over to the judges.

"There’s some really big names out here this year. They’re world champions," Struhall said.

Some familiar FOX 7 Austin faces were helping decide the winners in the different categories.

"These guys get really intense out here," Struhall said.

Rodeo Austin has many other family activities throughout the month, including the fair, livestock show, pro rodeo, and more.

"Seeing the families bring their kids out here, getting involved in the month of March with Rodeo Austin, wherever they come from, all walks of life, we just want to entertain people and let them know that we have some western heritage out here and to come have a good time," said Rodeo Austin president Dauphen Jackson.

Jackson is expecting a huge turnout for this year's event. "Last year we had a record number of 455,000; we expect the same number, if not more. We want to exceed that number," he said.

The money raised provides scholarships and agricultural education for kids in Texas. According to Jackson, since 1981, the scholarship program has given away $8.3 million.

"That’s why we do it, our entire team is based around this," said Struhall. "This is kind of our give back."

Rodeo Austin is here until March 25.