The 4th annual Zipper Q BBQ Throwdown takes place Saturday, October 3rd at the Claremore Expo Center in Claremore, Oklahoma. Its goal is to raise awareness and funds for the connective tissue disease, Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva, or FOP. 

FOP is an extremely rare connective tissue disease that affects 1 in 2 million people. It causes bone to form inside muscles, tendons, ligaments and other connective tissues in the human body. It painfully restricts movement and creates a second skeleton in those diagnosed with FOP. Currently, there are 285 known cases in the United States, and over 800 confirmed around the world. 

One of those known US cases is 7 year old, Zip Gordon. A resident of Claremore, Zip is the inspiration for the Zipper Q BBQ Throwdown. He was diagnosed with the disease in the summer of 2011, at only 3 years old. When his parents realized something was wrong, it took almost forty doctors, several weeks of hospital visits, including one trip to a children’s hospital in St. Louis, to receive his diagnosis. Fortunately for Zip, he is in very little pain and will be in attendance at the BBQ Throwdown on Saturday, October 3rd. 

The Zipper Q BBQ Throwdown is a charity event that features BBQ challenges and cook offs between competing teams. Food will be served by these BBQ teams from 4-6 pm, with tasting kits provided by the event coordinators. In addition to food, there are many other aspects of the family friendly event that bring in people from all over the area. 

Admission is free and the Throwdown features live music, free drinks, free kids games and a snow cone truck. There will be a vehicle raffle drawing in which the winner can pick from a brand new Dodge Challenger, Jeep Wrangler or Dodge Ram 1500. Live and silent auctions for packages including vacation getaways, tickets to sporting events, sporting goods and autographed memorabilia take place throughout the day. All proceeds will go to the International Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva Association, or IFOPA, to help fund research for the disease and support families affected by FOP.  

Location of event: Claremore Expo Center. 400 S. Veterans Pkwy, Claremore, OK 74017.

For more information on the event, visit

For more information on FOP, or donate funds, visit