The couple appears in the Food Network for BBQ contest

Staff photos by Lynne Hermansen

Lynn Hermansen
A viewing party was held at the Austin Restaurant on Monday, July 11th for a local couple’s appearance on the Food Network episode of BBQ USA.
Richard and Marcy Fergola competed with other barbecue teams at the “Q” Lathe event in March in Olathe, Kansas.
Richard is a retired high school wrestling coach and special education teacher from Topeka, Kansas, who started barbecuing at home in 2009 when they moved to Gardner. He said he never wanted to own a restaurant, but became addicted to barbecue competitions after he was a judge.
He previously owned the KC Grilling Company in Olathe and left the business in April.

Richard and Marie Fergola celebrate the success of barbecue company Fergolicious at the premiere of BBQ USA episode on Food Network with friends and family in Austin on Monday, July 11. Staff photo by Lynne Hermansen

They’ve created a FergoliciousBBQ scrub that comes in six spices: Original, Sweet, Red Hot, SPG, American Pie, and Smoke Show.
Marcy said that when their son Rocco was six years old, he created their brand name.
“We passed by a restaurant that closed recently and had a checkout for rental,” she said. “Dad, he said, you should call her Fergolicious.”
They also travel the country to teach lessons.
“It starts slowly, you develop the brand, you get followers and then it takes off,” Richard Fergola said. “Since I left the store in Olathe, I’ve opened a door to travel teaching lessons.”
Fergolas said they teach different classes ranging from competition techniques to backyard barbecues, and they also taught in Holland a few years ago.
“It was an amazing and wonderful experience,” Richard said. “People at KC are conditioned that it only happens in certain places but barbecue is common all over the world.”
They hope to travel to teach in Australia in 2023. Competition style classes are very popular, Richard said, but backyard style classes are his favorite.
“They are more relaxed, comfortable and have a good time,” he said. “The competition is more serious. People are spending more money and there is more at stake because they want to win.”
Richard said his favorite barbecue meat is breast meat.
“It’s tough meat,” he said. “There’s the lean and fat part. Tenderness is the name of the game. It can be hard to beat and maybe the first time was awful. It’s a craft and I appreciate that.”
The pair began competing on the KCBS circuit in 2012 and previously appeared on two Food Network shows, “Destination America BBQ Pitmasters” in 2014 and “Chopped Grill Masters” in 2017.
Richard said they had information sent to them about the BBQ USA program, they applied, did four interviews and found out they were going to take part in the show in March.
BBQ USA host Michael de Simone has traveled with the Food Network to visit the Qlathe BBQ competition in the fourth year of the competition.
Fergolas has been featured along with their other top competitors Slaps BBQ, High i Que, Meat Rushmore and Hog Diesel.
“It’s exciting for people to see what we’re doing,” said Marcy Fergula. “People who don’t know us don’t know what that involves.”
Opening the episode, Michael D. Simon said that barbecue is a way of life in Kansas City.
Teams competed in different categories of ribs – mostly spare ribs, chicken thighs, pork, breast meat and seared ends.
On a scale from 1 to 9, 9 is a perfect score and the difference was judged on taste, tenderness and appearance.

Fergolas said Slaps BBQ was a good contender. They came in second overall and placed in a few individual categories.
“It’s all about consistency,” Richard said. “If it’s not consistent, you don’t have a good chance of winning.”
During the show Fergolas said, “It’s not delicious, it’s Fergolicious.”
Their barbecue grips can be found online, in barbecue supply stores, Ace Hardware, True Value and more.

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