Staff photos by Lynne Hermansen

Lynne Hermansen
A watch party was held at Austin’s restaurant Monday, July 11 for a local couple’s appearance on the Food Network’s episode of BBQ USA.
Richard and Marcy Fergola competed with other BBQ teams at the March “Q”lathe event 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 bbq competitions after being a judge.
He previously owned KC Grilling Company in Olathe and left the business in April.

Richard and Mary Fergola celebrate their barbecue business Fergolicious’s success on the Food Network’s BBQ USA episode premiere with friends and family at Austin’s Monday, July 11. Staff photo by Lynne Hermansen

They created FergoliciousBBQ rubs that come in six seasonings: Original, Sweet, Red Hot, SPG, American Pie and Smoke Show.
Marcy said when their son Rocco was six years old he came up with their brand name.
“We drove by a restaurant that had recently closed down and had a for lease sign out,” she said. “He said Dad you should call it Fergolicious.”
They also travel the country teaching classes.
“It starts slow, you develop the brand, get a following and then it takes off,” Richard Fergola said. “Since I left the store in Olathe it opened up a door to travel to teach classes.”
The Fergolas said they teach different classes ranging from competition styles to backyard barbecuing and they also taught in the Netherlands a few years ago.
“It was a great, awesome experience,” Richard said. “People in KC are contingent it only happens in certain places but barbecuing is popular all over the world.”
They hope to travel to teach in Australia in 2023. Richard said competition style classes are very popular but the backyard style classes are his favorite.
“They are more laidback, relaxed and a good time,” he said. “Competitive is more serious. People spend more money and there is more on the line because they want to win.”
Richard said his favorite meat to barbecue is brisket.
“It is a challenging meat,” he said. “There is the lean and the fat part. Tenderness is the name of the game. It can be challenging to conquer and my first was probably terrible. It is a craft and I appreciate it.”
The couple started competing on the KCBS circuit in 2012 and had 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 show, applied, had four interviews and found out they would be on the show in March.
BBQ USA is hosted by Michael D. Symon and he traveled with the Food Network to visit the Qlathe BBQ Competition for their fourth year of the competition.
The Fergolas were featured with their other biggest competitors Slaps BBQ, High i Que, Meat Rushmore and Hog Diesel.
“It’s exciting for people to see what we do,” Marcy Fergola said. “People who don’t know us don’t know what it entails.”
Michael D. Symon said at the opening of the episode that barbecue is a way of life in Kansas City.
Teams competed in different categories of Ribs—mostly spare ribs, chicken thighs, pork, brisket and burnt ends.
On a scale of 1 to 9, 9s are a perfect score and teams were judged on taste, tenderness and appearance.
The Fergolas said Slaps BBQ was a good competitor. They came in second place overall and placed in a few of the individual categories.
“It’s all about consistency,”Richard said. “If it isn’t consistent you don’t have a good chance at winning.”
During the show the Fergolas said, “It’s not delicious it’s Fergolicious.”
Their bbq rubs can be found online, at BBQ supply stores, Ace Hardware, True Value and more.