A Brief History of the Georgia Barbecue Association
As we approach the 2016 – 2017 season and the tenth anniversary of the GBA, the association has seen tremendous growth in membership over the past couple of years. The board thought this might be a good time to review a little GBA history and the current state of the GBA not only for our new members but our long time members as well.
The founding members of the GBA were Loraine Khoury, William Khoury, Alex Khoury, and Michelle Brennan. The first contest, and only one in 2007, was the Hambone Jam in Ft. Valley. The GBA’s Board of Directors asked Mr. AK Saville to run that contest using rules, procedures and materials based on the Memphis Barbeque Network. Following the next contest at the Macon Farmer’s Market, Danny Evans and John Anderson were brought in to run the next contests in Ft. Valley and Perry. Lonnie Smith was then elected the first president and Rick Godfrey the first vice-president of GBA in 2008. Other past presidents are Jeff Schramm (2009-2010), Raymond Poore (2010-2011), and Harry Faircloth (2011-2013). Our current President. Danny Meadows, is in his second term having first been elected in 2013.
Several years ago, the original Directors decided to restructure the board to reflect all the membership of the GBA. Three of the original Directors stepped aside, and new board members were appointed to represent the cook teams, the judges, and the contest organizers. The current board has five appointed members: Alex Khoury (founding member), Rick Godfrey (chairman of the board), Danny Evans (treasurer), Greg Hoyt (vice chairman), and Lois Sebastian (member at large). The board also has two elected board members, Danny Meadows (president), and Jim Sewell (vice-president). These two officers serve on the board and are elected every two years. In this way, the GBA Board can maintain continuity, is representative of the various interest groups within the Association (cook teams, judges, organizers), and allows for new people and ideas to be elected to the Board.
The organization has seen rapid growth over the last few years with approximately five hundred active members and twenty contests a year. For the first time last season, GBA held two sanctioned contests on the same weekend. The reputation of the GBA also continues to improve as more contests, organizations, and teams actively seek to associate themselves with the GBA
Financially, the GBA is in its best position ever. In 2013, the organization had $250.00 in the bank and could not pay Team of the Year or even reimburse all reps for their out of pocket expenses. The GBA currently has $20,000.00 in the bank and not only pays all of its obligations, but also pays Team of the Year and hosts the annual banquet. The GBA is now in a position to buy and replace equipment when needed and is ready for any additional expenses as they arise. Financial reports are given at every board meeting and are available for any member who wishes to view them.
All GBA members are welcome to attend board meetings or bring any issue, problem, suggestion, or proposal to the board for consideration. The board has always addressed any issue properly brought before it and decisions are made in the best interests of the entire organization. .
The Georgia Barbeque Association is a thriving organization thanks to the efforts of all the cook teams, judges, organizers, reps, and board members. Thank you for your continued participation, contributions, and support. We all look forward to the GBA’s 10th anniversary and what the future brings!