Parties & Events

HPBExpo provides the opportunity to network, catch up, and simply have fun with colleagues, friends, and customers. Be sure to add these events to your schedule for New Orleans!


HPBA Annual Membership Meeting & Expo Opening Ceremony – Don’t miss the passing of the gavel to the new HPBA Chairman and the special ribbon-cutting prior to Thursday’s 9:00am show opening! Join us at the exhibit hall entrance at 8:45am.
HPBA Sports Bar/Concession Area

Check out the ultimate tailgating vehicle from Varsity Motor Coach that will broadcast the live games each show day from the Sports Bar Area in the outdoor burn. Take a break and enjoy a beverage from the bars or a quick bite during show hours. (Alcohol beverages will be available for sale from 3:00pm – 7:30pm Thursday, March 17 and 3:00pm – 5:00pm on Friday, March 18.)

Donna H. Myers Barbecue Leadership Award
Casual Living magazine and HPBA will present the Donna H. Myers Barbecue Leadership Award. The award ceremony will be on Thursday, March 17 at the Tailgate & Cook-off at 5:30pm.



Our Generous Sponsor!
BGE Logo Vert

Thursday, March 17
5:00–7:30 pm
Outdoor Burn Area

Come cheer for your peers as they compete in the hottest event at North America’s biggest indoor-outdoor living showcase. Contestants will grill their most innovative and tasty recipes on Big Green Eggs for the chance to win their very own Big Green Egg.

Join us to crown a new barbecue champion while enjoying great food and drink and a whole lot of fun. Here are the highlights:

  • Championship basketball games screened on the Varsity Motor Coach at the Tailgating Hot Spot
  • A New Orleans Drago’s Food Truck featuring delicious charbroiled oysters
  • Savory offerings in the barbecue demo area
  • The Saints Cheerleaders
  • Pierre, the Pelicans’ mascot
  • St. Patrick’s Day parade

Your HPBExpo 2016 cook-off teams are:

Representing HPBA Canada
“The Canadian BBQ Boys”
Derick Cotnam & Shane Chartrand
The Fireplace Center & Patio Shop
Ottawa, ON

Derick and Shane grew up together in Ottawa and have worked on and off in the culinary industry for over 12 years at luxury resorts, hotels and restaurants in Canada, Europe and the Caribbean. Since 2012 the two have been partners in My Catering Group and have been recently sought out by the Food Network Canada and Gusto TV. Both men hold Canadian Red Seal Certifications recognizing their skills, experience, creativity and professionalism, and are excited to bring their newest Big Green Egg creations to the competition.

Representing Northwest HPBA
“Team Innovations”
Ryan Thramer & Mike Roe
Innovations for Quality Living
Bellingham, WA

Ryan, the son of Innovations owner Jerry Thramer, has been around barbecue his whole life. He has worked at Innovations since 2008, and in 2011 he expanded Innovations’ lines by introducing the Big Green Egg and starting the Bellingham BBQ Center. Innovations has experienced steady growth as a result of the community’s excitement about the Big Green Egg. Mike is a lifelong grilling enthusiast and has worked for Innovations for two years. He loves to experiment with new cooking techniques on the Big Green Egg and has created several of his own unique recipes for the Egg.

Representing Mid-Atlantic HPBA
“All Fired Up”
Michael & Amie Zabriskie
S.O.S. Stove & Fireplace Shoppe
Port Murray, NJ

A proud HPBA member, Michael has been the service and installation manager for the retail store for 16 years, and is thrilled to bring his own twist to grilling on the Big Green Egg to HPBExpo 2016.

Representing Arizona HPBA
“The King’s BBQ Crew”
Val Romero
Arizona Grill & Hearth
Elliott White
Grand Canyon Gas Logs
Tucson, AZ

Val (Owner of Arizona Grill & Hearth) and Elliott have been grillin’ & smokin’ in the industry for a combined 30 years. Prepare yourself to be all shook up with The King of BBQ’s own rubs and seasonings: Rub Me Tender, Hunka Burnin’ Rub and their Cajun fav, The King’s Creole. The guys are looking forward to smoking on their Green Luck Charm & Rockin’ their TCB (Takin’ Care of BBQ)! Viva Las Orleans!

Representing Midwest HPBA
“Midwest’s Best”
James Bassemier & Jeff Raymond
Bassemiers Fireplace, Patio, & Spas, Inc.
Evansville, IN

James is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of Smoke Cooking and is accredited by the American Culinary Chef Federation. He is a popular chef on local TV stations and is active in in-house fundraising, outdoor cooking schools, the Memphis in May International BBQ contest, NASCAR and NHRA events. Jeff has been selling and promoting Big Green Eggs for 16 years. A winner of 24 barbecue contest awards (including 16 first place prizes), Jeff has won his hometown competition Grill for the Thrill three years in a row. Visit for Jeff’s recipes and Google Jeff Raymond, Big Green Egg to see more pictures, recipes and postings from the hundreds of demos and classes he has conducted.

Representing Southeast HPBA
“Char Heels”
Patrick Tinsley & Alex Tinsley
Clean Sweep, the Fireplace Shop
Waynesville, NC

Patrick and Alex are grizzly veterans of the culinary scene, both with backgrounds in the food and beverage industry. Patrick and Alex have both been the executive chef at a handful of restaurants and the food and beverage director at a few others. Most of their experience has been in commercial kitchens, although they (along with the expert guidance of BBQ extraordinaire Mark Stoner) shocked the world by taking first place in both categories of the SEHPBA barbecue competition in Greenville, SC. They’re excited to represent the southeast in this competition and hope that their luck has not run out!

Your HPBExpo 2016 emcee:

Ted Reader
Chef/BBQ Expert/Author

Known for his pyrotechnic charm and fearless culinary spirit, Ted is an award-winning chef, author and food entertainer. He’s written over 21 cookbooks including Napoleon’s Everyday Gourmet Grilling, Napoleon’s Everyday Gourmet Plank Grilling, and Napoleon’s Everyday Gourmet Burgers which all took home the Gourmand World Cookbook Award for Best Barbecue Book. Others include Beerlicious: The Art of Grillin’ and Chillin’, the Complete Idiot’s Guide to Smoking Foods and most recently Gastro Grilling.

Your HPBExpo 2016 judges:

Chef Kevin Belton
New Orleans School of Cooking

NOLA native Chef Kevin looms large in the city’s culinary scene (he’s a 6’9, 400-lb., ex-NFL player) as a beloved fixture of the wildly popular New Orleans School of Cooking. His entertaining instructional style has led to appearances on WWI-TV, “Live with Regis & Kathie Lee,” “Wheel of Fortune,” “Emeril Live, ” The Food Network’s “Ready, Set, Cook,” as well as “Jeopardy” as a guest clue reader. Chef Kevin also had his own cooking show on BBC Television alongside renowned British chef Kevin Woolford titled, “Big Kevin, Little Kevin.” (In case you were wondering, our Kevin played the part of Big Kevin.)

Carolyn Wells
Cofounder/Executive Director
Kansas City Barbecue Society

Through a love of barbecue and countless hours around the smoker/grill, Carolyn has developed into an accomplished and innovative pitmaster winning more than 150 awards in barbecue cooking contests. She is a member of the prestigious KCBS Hall of Flame and the National Barbecue Hall of Fame, and has earned her Ph.B. (Doctor of Barbecue Philosophy). Carolyn served on the Steering Committee of the American Royal Barbecue Contests for 15 years, and has assisted hundreds of organizers in production of barbeque contests as civic and charitable events. She is author or co-author of four barbecue cookbooks and also serves as a Contest Rep, Certified Barbecue Judge and Certified Barbecue Table Captain Instructor.

Wild Bill
WGNO New Orleans

News With A Twist Features Reporter
Bill Wood is an 11-time Emmy-winning features reporter, most recently he was nominated for a Suncoast Emmy for his 365 Days to Say “I Do” story. His life as a storyteller started on his grandmother’s front porch in his hometown of Chesterfield, South Carolina. Population 1,300. Without Bill, population 1,299.

The Cook-off is generously sponsored by Big Green Egg who is providing EGGs for the cook-off.

Winner of the 2015 the Big Green Egg Cook-off Competition

Hearth & Home Magazine’s 16th Annual Vesta Awards


The Vesta Awards program was created in 2001 by Hearth & Home magazine to recognize and honor manufacturers for their innovation in product design and/or technology. The 2016 program will be open for entries on November 6, 2015 at

Judging takes place the first day of the HPBExpo, March 17, 2016; judges are selected from the ranks of retailers, distributors, designers, laboratory scientists, affiliate leaders and industry consultants.

The Vesta Awards Ceremony will begin at 5:00pm on Friday, March 18th, at the convention center. Winners and finalists will be featured in Hearth & Home’s April issue. Now in its 16th year, the Vesta Awards are a respected and prestigious part of the HPBExpo. To view the winners and finalists of the 2015 Vesta Awards, go to

Retailer of the Year Awards

For the fourth year, a Retail addition has been added to the Vesta Awards program. There will be two Retailer Awards – one for Hearth Retailer of the Year and another for Outdoor Room Retailer of the Year. The awards will recognize stores that excel in Visual Merchandising (store appearance and design) and Marketing (advertising, promotions, web presence, social media, etc.), as well as employee training and customer service. The program will open for nominations on November 6, 2015 at

Attendees’ Choice Awards – Visit the New Product Pavilion to see the collection of products vying for this year’s Attendees’ Choice Awards. Before leaving the pavilion, cast your vote on the best hearth and outdoor living product.

Download the app!

Enhance your show experience and
download the HPBExpo App today.

Join Our Email List: