KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Friday night is typically referred to as party night at American Royal's World Series of Barbecue, but some teams were glued to their TVs instead.
“We live just kind of right here," Shannon Turner said, pointing our Raleigh, North Carolina, on weather coverage inside her RV. "So we are just getting those outer rain bands right now."
She and her husband are one of several barbecue teams from North Carolina who were paying as much attention to the radar as their recipes Friday as Hurricane Florence battered the Carolina coast and sent a wall of rain and storm surge into neighborhoods -- including her family’s.
“They live near New Bern, which has been on the news a lot today, so they’ve had several inches of water in their houses," she said.
The power is out for her dogs, which make up the rest of her “Mutley Crew” BBQ team, but so far she said reports are her home has withstood Florence’s fury.
But Operation BBQ Relief knows many families aren’t so lucky. For the second year in a row the barbecue charity is preparing to leave American Royal early to head to an area ravaged by hurricanes.
“Last year as the Royal happened, I got done with Friday and Saturday, and then Sunday I left and came back 28 days later from Harvey then to Irma," Operation BBQ Relief co-founder Will Cleaver said.
Smokers and refrigerated trucks full of meat are already staged a few hours out. On Saturday, dozens more volunteers will head to help where needed.
“It’s almost like you are getting more out of it than you are giving even though you are giving everything you can to help," Cleaver said.
For Turner, unlike previous nights, she hopes the only reason she’ll have a sleepless night Friday night is because the alarm is set early in preparation for the competition.
“So far I’m reassured that things are going well. I can concentrate on the cook," she said.
As for the event itself, it runs through Sunday at Kansas Speedway. Tickets are $25 or $60 for a family four pack.