news-category: Athletics

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

outline of NC broken into GWU and Campbell colors

Winner of Inaugural Rivalry Game Receives Hog Trophy and a Barbecue Feast

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Gardner-Webb University and Campbell University announced today that the two schools’ football programs will compete annually for the North Carolina East/West BBQ Trophy, beginning this season.

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

Bob Garner
Bob Garner, barbecue expert

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.

Dr. Downs
GWU President Dr. William M. Downs

“A good, spirited cross-state rivalry in football can add tons of energy to the college game,” explained 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 October 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 two campuses are separated by 165.5 miles as the crow flies – and 218 miles by car.

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 2019 in triple overtime, surviving for a 49-47 win in Boiling Springs.

Campbell President Dr. J. Bradley Creed

“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!”

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

Season tickets, season parking passes, along with single-game tickets and parking for Gardner-Webb football are available online at or by calling (704) 406-4340 during regular business hours.

A Campbell football player tackles the Gardner-Webb player who is carrying the ball.
Gardner-Webb played Campbell in Big South Conference football action at the Ernest W. Spangler Stadium on Oct. 26, 2019.

About Campbell University

Campbell University is the private university of choice in North Carolina, enrolling more North Carolinians than any other private school in the state. Located in Buies Creek, North Carolina, Campbell University is committed to graduating students with exemplary academic and professional skills who are prepared for purposeful lives and meaningful service. Learn more at

About Gardner-Webb

Located in the North Carolina foothills, Gardner-Webb University is a private, Christian, liberal arts university. Gardner-Webb emphasizes a strong student-centered experience and rigorous academics to prepare students to become effective leaders within the global community. Ignite your future at

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