BBQ Tour Stop #17: Decatur, ALSeptember 24, 2011
2011 Decatur Riverfest
Christine and I rolled into Decatur for the 17th Annual Riverfest sponsored by the Decatur Jaycees club. The event is held at Ingalls Harbor that is right off the Tennessee River on a beautiful park-like setting on the North side of Decatur.
We loaded in on Thursday afternoon along with some of the teams. There were 76 professional teams and 37 backyard teams competing which made for a full event. Friday night was the cooks meeting and bands played throughout the evening to a nice crowd. While there was a slight chance of rain over the weekend, it stayed dry and was a beautiful weekend for a BBQ contest. Friday night, Christine and I walked around meeting the teams and signing them up for the Kingsford Points Chase.
On Saturday, the judges started strolling through the grounds towards the judging tent and quite a few stopped by the trailer to say hello. Judge Rita from Decatur even brought cookies which were fantastic! While the early crowds were light, as the day went on, the crowds grew and we had nice attendance at our demonstration. The crowds really grew as the 113 teams made their way towards the stage where seven beautiful wooden trophy cups awaited the champions.
Before the winners were announced, Ken Hess, Riverfest organizer and pitmaster for Big Bob Gibson’s, choked up a bit as he thanked his Riverfest committee for all their hard work and commitment. Before they got around to handing out the wood, they announced best sauce which went to our friends the Montgomery’s of Team Top Chick who turned in their chicken sauce which they are working on getting bottled. Next was dessert which scored a 180 and went to back-to-back winner Lil’ Bit O Smoke.
The Riverfest group ran their awards a bit differently than we had seen before. They announced places tenth to second and left the category winners until the very end. A number of teams got a couple of calls which really made for a suspenseful final as Bean Bandits received a 180 for their chicken entry. The whispering prior to awards was that there were a couple of 180’s so it was no surprise that Warren County Pork Choppers received a 180 for their rib category win. After lugging the big wooden trophy back to their seats, Warren County Pork Choppers won the Pork category along with the Kingsford Points Chase and everyone (or maybe just me) assumed that along with an 8th place call in chicken that Warren County would be crowned Grand Champion. Last was brisket and Bubba with team Bu-Ba-Q scored a 180 with his brisket entry.
As the top 20 teams were counted down, Warren County Pork Choppers was announced Reserve Grand Champion while hometown boys and now 8 time qualifier for the Jack draw, Jiggy Piggy from Decatur, Alabama were announced as Grand Champions. 15th place chicken, 6th place ribs, 6th place pork along with a 2nd place brisket pushed them ahead for a less than 2 point win over Reserve.
Riverfest is a cook’s competition and a great event. Christine and I were glad we got to be a part of the 17th annual cookoff and would love to cook this contest at some point in the future!