RIB-OFF! Round 1 voting ends on Monday morning, see the close races here

has made a concerted push towards victory, with a post on the restaurant's Facebook page and a get-out-the-vote effort that has put it well ahead of rival Big Tim's Bar-BQ in its round 1 match-up. Do you want to see a national chain make it into the second round? (Vote in this match-up now.)


The Official Unofficial Seminole Heights Blog (aka just The Seminole Heights Blog) has rallied support for the three Rib-Off competitors from the Heights: newcomer Smokin' A's, Ella's Americana Folk Art Cafe and Sooo Good Southern Barbecue. Perhaps because of that support, all three are in the lead in their matches, with Sooo Good taking a lead from popular South Tampa joint Smoke.


In other close races: Shamacs and Crab-BQ are neck and neck; Baker's Hogley Wogley is barely edging out Sonny's; and BJ's Alabama BBQ is tied with Uncle Rodney's Rib House.


To see the results and vote in this round, or round 2 starting at Noon on Monday, go to cltampa.com/ribs.

With four days of voting under our belts, CL's 2010 Tournament of Ribs is fully underway. Round 1 voting — where we cut the competitors from 64 of the Bay area's rib specialists down to a field of 32 — ends on Monday morning at 10 a.m. That means that only the weekends stands between success and failure for these worthy places. Got to cltampa.com/ribs to see brackets, where you can find the competitors, and — most importantly — to VOTE NOW!

Here's a rundown of the closest and most interesting races so far:

At the top of the voting tally is the epic battle between St. Petersburg's Z Grille and Wildwood BBQ & Burger with well over 800 votes cast so far. The lead has shifted between the two restaurants, but currently Z Grille has the advantage, with a 100 vote cushion. Considering the interest in this race, however, that could change in very short order. (Vote in this match-up now.)

Of the two big national chains represented in the Rib-Off, only Lee Roy Selmon's

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