DUBLIN - Calling all judges.

The Embarq-sponsored BBQ, Beans & Blarney cook-off kicks off today and continues with judging Saturday at Dublin City Park.

As of Thursday evening, 42 “cookers” had signed up to compete, including one team from as far away as Mountain View, Wyoming.

“It’s going to be one of the biggest events yet,” said Jeannette Ward of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce. “We’ve got a lot of cookers coming in and need a lot of judges.”

Ward said judges are needed to score entries in all four categories: beans, chicken, ribs and brisket. Twenty-five judges will taste and rate entries in each category - with five at each table, she said.

Judges will rate each entrant on a scale of “1 to 10” on score sheet and then will pass the food entry on to the next judge.

The 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners in each category will qualify to participate in the championship in Tennessee.

“It is a lot of eating’ but everybody has a good time,” Ward said. “They’ll be lots of cool barbecue pits coming out here.”

In addition to the entrant from Wyoming, Ward said participants will be arriving from Lubbock, Tolar, Abilene, Fort Worth, and Dallas, as well as other locations from outside Erath County.

In fact, Ward said, only four of the entries were from Dublin as of late Thursday.

In conjunction with the cook-off, Ward said, a “huge” tractor pull will be held starting at 10 a.m., weather permitting.

Because of recent bad weather, she said several tractor pulls in the area have had to be canceled. As a result, she is hopeful there will be a large turnout for this week’s event.

Anyone interested in being a judge, Ward said, should contact the Dublin Chamber of Commerce Office 445-3422 to register.

DOUG MYERS is Managing Editor of the Empire-Tribune. He can be reached at doug.myers@empiretribune.com or (254) 965-3124, ext. 229.