Houston BBQ team escapes flooding for American Royal

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- The devastation of Hurricane Harvey isn't stopping some of Texas' best cooks from escaping Houston this weekend for the American Royal's barbecue contest.

The Bullhorn BBQ team from Cypress, Texas, usually has six members cooking brisket and sausage. Only two made it to Kansas City this year.

Photos from just a few days ago show the Bullhorn team's barbecue trailer with nearly all of their gear submerged in Houston's floodwaters.

"There's so many things that go through your head," said Dianne Arocha, of Bullhorn BBQ. "How am I going to evacuate my children if it comes into the house? It was very nerve wracking and mentally exhausting."

Arocha says the flooding started to recede Wednesday, and with only one interstate open leading out of town, Dianne and her husband, Rob, decided to make their escape, if for nothing more than a short mental health break.

"We wrestled with it for a few days because with all the devastation going on, people are actually rushing in to Houston to help, we are going out the other way," said Rob Arocha of Bullhorn BBQ. "We were able to feed some National Guard and first responders, before we left. Once we come back we will jump right back in to help out where we can."

The Arochas couldn't bring their team's waterlogged barbecue trailer, so their Kansas City sponsor, Blue Hat Crane is helping the team find plates, forks and other supplies they had to leave behind or couldn't bring with them from Houston.

The Arochas's team trailer submerged in flood water in Houston.

"It’s important to make their lives just a little bit easier, in all this chaos," said David Lapin, of Blue Hat Crane. "If we can make that happen for just the brief time they are up here, because when they go back they are going back to Houston, where the devastation is."

Lapin says if Kansas Citians haven't eaten Texas barbecue brisket they are truly missing something special.

Bullhorn team members left behind are feeding flood victims and volunteers in Houston as part of Operation BBQ Relief.

Thursday alone, the metro area based charity served 22,000 barbecue meals in Houston. The Arochas will be taking donations at the American Royal for Operation BBQ Relief.

For tickets to the American Royal, entertainment information and more, click here.