MOULTRIE -- Organizers of next weekend's Backyard Barbecue contest will memorialize a longtime friend during this year's event.

James Ray Jones III -- much better known as "Rocky" Jones -- died March 23 at the age of 42. He was a constant sight at the annual barbecue contest, and now his name will grace an award that is beginning this year.

The Rocky Jones Community Spirit Award will go to the barbecue team that displays the best teamwork as indicated by community spirit and good sportsmanship, organizers said. Some teams have traditionally dressed alike or decorated their areas along a theme, and those are among the considerations for the Rocky Jones award.

"For Rocky it was all about having fun," said Tina Hickey, co-chairman of Spring Fling, the event that coincides with the barbecue contest.

A dozen teams are already signed up for the contest, according to Main Street Director Amy Johnson, and there's room for five more. Applications can be turned in until Tuesday morning. Call Johnson or Hickey at 890-5455 for details.

The teams will compete in one or more of seven categories: Ribs, chicken, Boston butt, barbecue sauce, Brunswick stew, chili and beef. Fees are $35 per meat category and $10 for sauce, chili or Brunswick stew. However, anyone who wants to compete in the latter categories must also compete in at least one meat category. To enter all categories costs $125.

The awards available for all categories are $100 cash for the first place team, $75 cash for the second place team and $50 cash for the third place team, Hickey said. Each team will also receive a trophy, courtesy of Rocky's Trophies, the company Jones ran for several years.

Cooking begins at 7 a.m. Saturday, April 16, and awards are presented at 3:30 p.m. that day.

In addition to the barbecue contest, Spring Fling will feature more than 30 arts and crafts vendors and a variety of entertainment:

- Country music group Shenandoah will perform at 8 p.m. Friday, April 15. The group, formed in 1985, has released 16 CDs and had three certified gold albums and 25 charted singles including 12 number one songs. It won a Grammy award in 1996.

- Local entertainment will perform throughout the day April 16, including dance groups from Tallahassee, Bainbridge and Moultrie.

- The Cute Critter pet contest, sponsored by the Humane Society of Moultrie and Colquitt County begins at noon.

- Two Downtown Idol events will be sponsored by the Moultrie Junior Woman's Club. Junior Downtown Idol, for anyone under 18, begins at 4 p.m., and the adult version opens at 5 p.m.

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