East/West Rivals, Campbell and Gardner-Webb announce BBQ Bowl Game

Campbell and Gardner-Webb announced this fall that the two schools’ football programs will compete annually for the North Carolina East/West BBQ Trophy, beginning this season.

The Fighting Camels and Runnin’ Bulldogs renew their intra-conference rivalry on Oct. 9, in Boiling Springs. Kickoff for the inaugural rivalry game is set for 6 p.m. in Ernest W. Spangler Stadium.

The winner of the game each year will hoist and host the well-built, hefty trophy — topped with a decorative hog and adorned with a placard to engrave each year’s winning team and score. On hand to present the trophy will be North Carolina BBQ expert, Bob Garner. Garner has written three books on North Carolina’s favorite food and has appeared on Food Network, ABC’s “Good Morning America,” the Travel Channel’s “Road Trip,” and he produces specials for PBS North Carolina.

Most importantly, the losing team will be tasked with supplying a barbecue feast from its region — eastern-style for the Camels, western or Lexington-style for the Bulldogs — to the winning side.

“A healthy, good-natured athletics rivalry between schools like Campbell and Gardner-Webb is not only fun for our fans, it also treats the spirit of our institutions in good and positive ways,” said Campbell President Dr. J. Bradley Creed. “Campbell is grateful to compete with such a talented group of programs in the Big South Conference and our rivalry with Gardner-Webb on the gridiron is clearly going to reach a new level of intensity this fall. There’s much more on the line than just a victory on the football field; North Carolina BBQ is up for grabs. The stakes are high. I am grateful to President Downs at Gardner-Webb for his willingness to be a good sport and friend to me and the Campbell family. When the Camels come to Boiling Springs, fear the hump!”

“A good, spirited cross-state rivalry in football can add tons of energy to the college game,” said Gardner-Webb President Dr. William Downs. “I grew up in ACC country, so I know full well how fans look forward to Rivalry Week each year. I also love good BBQ, and North Carolina is home to some seriously heated competition between western-style and eastern-style. I’m grateful to Campbell’s President, Dr. Creed, for agreeing to combine two things we all love — sports and eating — into this annual pigskin battle.  And just to get the rivalry off on the right foot, I apologize in advance to Camel Nation for GWU’s victory on Oct. 9.”

Gardner-Webb and Campbell first met on the football field as junior colleges on Nov. 16, 1929. The Fighting Camels took a 21-6 win that day in Buies Creek. The programs have played 12 times total, with Campbell holding a 5-4-3 edge in the series.

The teams did not meet from 1950 until 2018, when Gardner-Webb came away with a 35-7 win in Buies Creek. Campbell won the most recent meeting in triple overtime, surviving for a 49-47 win in Boiling Springs.

The two campuses are separated by 165.5 miles as the crow flies — and 218 miles by car.

Both schools’ athletics programs compete as full members of the Big South Conference.