Ascension Festivals and Cultural Council Inc. is looking for barbecue teams to compete in this year’s Battle of the Badges Barbecue Contest at the Ascension Hot Air Balloon Festival at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales, a news release said.

Teams have until noon Sept. 21 to sign up. The competition, set for Sept. 26 at Barn 6, is for teams made up of police officers, firefighters or emergency medical service personnel. Each team must have only one head cook who must be commissioned full-time in the line of duty.

The entry fee is $25 per team, payable in advance. To sign up, contact Ken Firmin at (225) 933-8960 or; or Martin McConnell at (225) 450-1035 or

All meats will be provided by the contestants, inspected prior to cooking and cooked on-site. Seasoning and marinating the day before will be allowed.

Setup may begin the day before the competition after 5 p.m. or by 6 a.m. the day of competition. Fires can begin no earlier than 6 a.m. Saturday.

Judging categories include baby back ribs (pork), chicken quarters and beef brisket. Judging will be conducted by blind taste-testing only.

All meat must be turned in for judging at the following times: 2 p.m. for ribs, 3 p.m. for chicken and 4 p.m. for brisket. Turn-in boxes will be provided. Garnishes are not included in judging criteria.

Trophies for each category will be awarded along with an Overall Championship trophy. Announcement of the winners will begin at 5 p.m.

Festival gates are open from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sept. 25 and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sept. 26. Admission is $5 for ages 13 and older, and free for children 12 and younger.