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Pigeon Forge’s Chuck Wagon Cookoff Serves Up Authentic Cowboy Cooking, Dinner Concert March 1-3

PIGEON FORGE, Tennessee—(Jan. 31, 2024)—The annual Pigeon Forge Chuck Wagon Cookoff is bringing frontier food and entertainment to the Smokies with competitive campfire cooking and a dinner concert for visitors to enjoy and explore.

“Pigeon Forge’s Chuck Wagon Cookoff gives visitors and residents the chance to experience authentic chuckwagon cooking and cowboy entertainment in their own backyard, and it’s an event – and meal – many look forward to all year,” said Pigeon Forge Special Events Manager Jon Elder. “While the food is fantastic, the weekend’s entertainment, activities, and fellowship really make the Pigeon Forge Chuck Wagon Cookoff feel like a gathering of family and friends each year.”

The festivities begin with an Intimate Evening Dinner Concert featuring Western singer/songwriter R.W. Hampton and cowboy poet and humorist Andy Nelson on Friday, March 1 at 6 p.m. at Mama’s Farmhouse (208 Pickle Street). Limited tickets are $50 (tax inclusive) and on sale now at

Hampton has earned numerous honors from the Academy of Western Artists and the Western Music Association, which inducted him into its Hall of Fame in 2011. In 2022, Hampton was the recipient of the prestigious Chester A. Reynolds Award presented at the Western Heritage Awards. Hampton also has appeared in several films, including Peace River and The Contested Plains.

Nelson, a second-generation farrier, draws from his upbringing traveling across the western U.S. with his father for authentic storytelling that captivates audiences. Living in Wyoming, Nelson still works as a farrier and raises horses. Nelson also co-hosts a weekly syndicated radio show with his brother titled “Clear Out West (C.O.W.) Radio.”

On Saturday, March 2, ten chuck wagons will compete for top honors and cash prizes in the annual lunch competition at Clabough’s Campground (405 Wears Valley Road). Chuck wagon “cookies” receive their main ingredients the day before the event and must prepare their meals authentically with ingredients that would have been available and used on original chuck wagons. Lunch, featuring a meat, potato, beans, bread, dessert, and drink, is served at noon. Lunch tickets are $15 per person (tax inclusive). Due to the event’s popularity, tickets are available for purchase in advance at Onsite ticket sales are available the day of the event while supplies last.

The Saturday event also includes a variety of free family-friendly entertainment. Buckaroo Roundup activities take place around the campground from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Demonstrations by representatives of Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch and a stroll through the Sisters on the Fly Cowgirl Caravan of vintage campers are available. From 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., featured entertainment in the onsite event tent includes Western poetry and music by Nelson and Hampton, along with performers from Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch.

Pigeon Forge’s Chuck Wagon Cookoff concludes on Sunday (March 3) morning at Stages West (2765 Parkway) with a cowboy-style breakfast from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. Tickets are $5 per person (tax inclusive) and available for purchase at or at the event (while supplies last). Stage’s West’s Cowboy Church begins at 10:30 a.m. immediately following breakfast.

Tickets for all events are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

More information about Pigeon Forge’s Chuck Wagon Cookoff is available at or by calling 865-429-7350.


About Pigeon Forge: Pigeon Forge is located in East Tennessee, approximately 35 miles from Knoxville and McGhee-Tyson Airport. Two-thirds of the nation’s population east of the Mississippi River lives within a day’s drive, making it an easily accessible family vacation destination. The city’s neighbor is Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most-visited national park in the U.S. It also is home to Dolly Parton’s Dollywood theme park, Tennessee’s most-visited ticketed attraction. More information about all aspects of Pigeon Forge is available at or toll-free at 1-800-251-9100.