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BBQ Tour Stop #3: Indio, CA

April 30, 2010

Chris and I headed to Indio and the Stagecoach Music festival with a well thought out travel plan. Load up with product and spend Monday night in Oklahoma City, then on to Moriarty, NM Tuesday, Phoenix on Wednesday and a leisurely load-in to the event Thursday. That was the plan at least! We hit Oklahoma City on Monday night and had a wonderful dinner at Applebee’s where the waiter saw our BBQ shirts and whipped open his billfold to show off his smoker pictures…gotta love BBQ people. Moriarty wasn’t quite what we expected but were lucky enough to get there before 7 pm when they rolled the streets up. On our way to Phoenix, the highway patrol diverted us at Winslow, AZ due to high winds. Five hours later, we were finally on our way to Phoenix with blown dirt and sand where blown dirt and sand should not be. Thursday finally came and we stopped by the truck wash once we hit Indio and found the event check-in site, picked up our credentials and headed over to the Polo Grounds and the site of the Festival and BBQ.

Friday was a beautiful day in the low 80’s with even better weather projected for the weekend. As teams loaded into the event, the booths started shaping up with decorations and public enticement for the upcoming People’s Choice voting. The AZ Barbeque team set up their beanbag/corn hole game and were swarmed… not with people but with bees as a hive was growing on one of the boards. The AZ BBQ team used it to their advantage, however, and were telling folks that they use the freshest honey in their sauce.

On Saturday, the BBQ contest was a ribs only event with teams cooking baby backs and spares and selling ribs to the crowds. The Smokin’ Yankees had a special treat for the crowd, a pint sized pig. Actually it was Scottie, son of the Smokin’ Yankees team. He was dancing and playing with the pretty girls and having a great time. He even took one of our Master of Mixes motorized coolers for a spin around the event site. On Sunday at the KCBS awards, every call that the Smokin’ Yankees got, Scottie was the first one jumping on the stage. The team that got most of the calls was a first year cooking team but multiple year attendee. The Cathedral City Police Department who normally works the event had a team entered, the Grillin’ Jailbirds. They were mentored by the AZ BBQ team and had a first place pork call and didn’t place less than seventh in the other categories and were Reserve Grand Champions.  I think I overheard something at the awards – “This sure ain’t prison food”. Seeing the genuine happiness of how well this team placed was another tribute to how great this world of BBQ is. Dangerous Dave of team Lotta Bull West was the Grand Champion in addition to the Kingsford Champion and got the big $1,000 check. This was the second Kingsford contest and the second Grand Champion cooking on Kingsford.

Did I forget to mention that this was also a music festival? The Saturday headliners were Sugarland and Keith Urban while Sunday, Brooks and Dunn and Toby Keith took the main stage. We were right across from the Palomino stage which had Merle Haggard on Saturday and the Oak Ridge Boys on Sunday. There was lots of great music and it was the place to be in California for the weekend.

We loaded out of the event on Monday morning and if I thought the load-in security was tough, it had nothing on the load-out security. We had to wait in line to see the “king” of the lot, have a special wristband and trade my driver’s license for a parking pass to get to the trailer. All was good as Mike and Mark of AZ BBQ were loading out also. It was great to get to meet teams from out West and I hope to see these folks again on the BBQ trail!

Mike (& Chris) Peters

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