Girls Can Grill Scholarship Empowers 9 Young Ladies to Pursue Competition Barbecue Dreams


LAS VEGAS, April 10, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — LAS VEGAS – Barbecue has long been considered a male-dominated field, but nine young ladies from across the nation are breaking barriers and making their mark on the competition circuit.

Because of their dedication, skill and unwavering determination, Girls Can Grill, a leading online resource for grilling and barbecuing, is proud to name these nine girls as recipients of the 2024 Girls Can Grill Scholarship.

Founded in 2015 by renowned pitmaster Christie Vanover, Girls Can Grill has been a driving force in promoting inclusivity and empowering women in the world of barbecue. Vanover has won multiple state BBQ championships, is the 2023 Nevada BBQ Team of the Year and appeared on Season 4 of Food Network’s BBQ Brawl.


“I launched the Girls Can Grill Pro Team in 2023 to support MacKenna York, a young girl in Utah who had a contagious passion for competition barbecue,” said Vanover. “She showed up to every competition with a smile and always cheered on her fellow competitors.”

Inspired by the incredible talent she witnessed, Vanover expanded the program this year to include more deserving young ladies.

The Girls Can Grill Scholarship will provide financial assistance to help with competition costs, ensuring these girls can continue to pursue their dreams and showcase their skills on the barbecue circuit.

2024 Team GCG Pro Team

The recipients of the 2024 Girls Can Grill Scholarship are as follows:

  • MacKenna York (16) – Team Moodyteenbbq of Herriman, Utah.
  • Raelyn Barker (12) – Team Chupacabra of Three Rivers, Texas.
  • Sammie (13), Katie (11) and Abby Hoffman (9) – Team Lucky Ladies BBQ of Las Vegas, Nevada.
  • Jocelyn (16), Brooklyn (14), Addy (12) and Katie Moody (7) – Team Moodswing BBQ of Hendersonville, Tennessee.

York started barbecuing when she was 13 and has competed in the Steak Cookoff Association (SCA) World Championships twice in the adult division. She’s won two SCA steak championships and was the grand champion at the 2024 Slab-O-Rama Kids Que in Bullhead City, Arizona.

Barker started competing on the grill at the age of five and already has several notable wins under her belt. She’s the Master Chef Junior Home for the Holidays Champion, Bum Philips Champion, American Royal World Series Jr. BBQ Reserve Grand Champion and the World Championship Bar-B-Que Jr. Cook-off Reserve Grand Champion.

The Hoffman girls started barbecuing about four years ago. Abby has won two 1st place Kids Que competitions. Katie has won two second place awards, and together Abby and Katie won as a first-place team. Sammie just started competing and recently won fourth place in a Kids Que older kids division.

The Moodys have been grilling as a family since 2018. Together, they have over 30 first place wins and over 50 top 10 calls. They have earned these awards in both the Kids Q and adult divisions.

BBQ Plans for 2024

The girls have big BBQ plans for 2024, and they’re excited about the GCG scholarship opportunity.

“It means a lot me,” said Barker. “It shows how much GCG believes in me. It also is a huge help with being able to afford to pursue my culinary goals and dreams!”

Barker will be competing in the 2024 American Royal in Kansas, conducting demos for Smoke Slam and Memphis in May in Tennessee, and plans to compete with the World Junior BBQ League.

Lucky Ladies BBQ will be competing in Nevada this summer and fall. They are also sharing their knowledge by teaching other kids how to grill at an upcoming charity event.

“It’s an honor to be a part of the Girls Can Grill legacy,” said Team Lucky Ladies BBQ. “The scholarship will help us to pay for entering competitions and also testing out and perfecting recipes.”

In addition to helping their mom with BBQ classes and demos, the Moody girls will continue to compete on the SCA circuit. They’re also starting to use social media to share their love of BBQ and new experiments on the grill.

York will continue competing on the SCA circuit and has a goal of earning a golden ticket to the 2025 world championships for her third year in a row.

“I like BBQing so much because I get to meet a bunch of new people and travel to new places,” said York. “Another reason I love BBQ so much is because I love the atmosphere and the people I compete with.

“I also like to be successful and get awards and beat my parents,” she joked.

Vanover is proud to champion these young women and provide them with the resources they need to thrive.

“I believe in these girls, and I’m here to serve as a mentor to help them grow,” she said. “I’m also excited to see their personal creativity and culinary innovation. They are the next generation of female pitmasters.”

Founded in 2015, Girls Can Grill is an online resource for all things related to griling and barbecuing. The site, which is owned and operated by pitmaster Christie Vanover, contains hundreds of recipes, how-to videos, product reviews and BBQ tips to help everyone from the beginner barbecuer to the most advanced pitmasters. Christie has won multiple state BBQ championships, is the 2023 Nevada BBQ Team of the Year and appeared on Season 4 of Food Network’s BBQ Brawl. She also starred in and produced several how-to videos for Ninja Kitchen’s outdoor grill line and is an expert grill reviewer for BBQ Guys. She has cooked on dozens of grills and has around 30 in her backyard at any given time.

[Editors Note: Photos of the recipients can be found at]

CONTACT: Christie Vanover Girls Can Grill [email protected] 

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