The 2011 season was a bit of a disappointment on the competition side - we did not do nearly as well as last year. But it was one hell of a great year personally. I was able to reconnect with some old friends, turn my brother into a BBQ fanatic, showed a new friend how a team can be run solo, and worked side by side with some of the greatest BBQers anyone one would love to call their friends - they are now brothers and sisters - yes strong words, but read on and you will see how and why.
During one of the early contests, I was talking with one of my old college roommates, who also has his own team - well we decided to team up for two contests and had a great time. Who says BBQ competitions are all about winning? We really reconnected and enjoyed the camaraderie. We haven't talked much about teaming up in upcoming years, but it is always a possibility.
My brother came out in early June and helped with a few contests before we drove from Paola (Kansas City area) to Castle Rock, Colorado for a contest in July. He returned to Colorado with a brand new UDS (Ugly Drum Smoker) and started talking about starting a team of his own. He even got the bug so bad he drove back out later in the year and we (mainly he) built another one. Now that he's thinking of his own team, will I ever see him back to help out here???
I also met a new friend and fellow BBQ cook who wanted to change his game plan from where he was at - only one or two contest with quite a bit of partying - to adding more contests and taking it a bit more serious. He joined me at one contest and was quite a bit of help, was great to talk with, & showed the most emotion at the site all year - too bad this was the last contest of the year. Not only did he learn a little from me, I learned a lot from him. For that thank you Jay!
As for my new brothers & sisters, well all I have to is Joplin, Missouri and Operation BBQ Relief for Joplin. Please visit the Operation BBQ Relief.org to learn more. It is a great organization and a worthy cause. Personally, my experience started the Friday after the tornado hit when I arrived to help out feeding the relief workers and the affected families and ended Sunday with very little sleep and very emotional. The stories we heard and the sights we saw were just plain life changing. In 11 days, our group provided over 120,000 meals!! It is estimated that there were about 150 BBQers from 8 states who volunteered! We all became brothers and sisters that week and a half.
Now, It's the off season and I plan to reconfigure the BBQ trailer once again and build two more UDS's with Stokers. Stay tuned for those blogs.
It's also time to start planning for 2012!
The 2012 BBQ Season is just around the corner and we are looking at contests we are considering competing at.
Polar Bear BBQ Challenge - Columbia, Missouri
Smokin' On Big Creek - Pleasant Hill, Missouri
Smoke in the Spring - Osage City, Kansas
Smokin' Red Dirt BBQ - Enid, Oklahoma
Smokin' in the Ozarks - Springdale, Arkansas
Sertoma 48 - Lawrence, Kansas
Rods, Ribs & Rock N Roll - Manhattan, Kansas
Wheatstock Grill-Off: Peace Love & BBQ - Abilene, Kansas
Great American Barbecue - Overland Park, Kansas
Red White Blue & Barbecue - Topeka, Kansas
Smokin' on the Summit - Lee's Summit, Missouri
Ol' Glory BBQ Challenge - Fredonia, Kansas
Smokin' Hot BBQ & Fireworks - Girard, Kansas
Hay Capital BBQ Cook Off - Yates Center, Kansas
Wild Blue Barbecue Cook-Off - Burlington, Kansas
Riverside BBQ Classic - Iola, Kansas
Wheels & Squeels BBQ Challenge - Olathe, Kansas
Flint Hills Beef Fest - Emporia, Kansas
Paola Roots Fest - Paola, Kansas
Four State BBQ Challenge - Quapaw, Oklahoma
Hay Capital BBQ Cook-Off - Yates Center, Kansas
Mission Battle of the Brisket - Mission, Kansas
Shawnee Great Grillers - Shawnee, Kansas
American Royal - Kansas City, Missouri
Autumn Blaze Smokeoff BBQ - Garnett, Kansas
Now, we will only select a few, yea right, probably somewhere in the 12-16 range, so stay tuned.....