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Indio Recap

May 5, 2008
The Stagecoach music festival is easily the largest festival either of us has attended either on this BBQ tour, or in our lives. The estimate is 150,000 people over the three days of the festival to see headline acts like the Eagles, Trace Atkins, Wynona, Carrie Underwood, and many many others. Linda has developed a whole new appreciation for country music.

The festival also included three days of BBQ competition which was our reason for being here. But, in truth, the BBQ competitions were almost dwarfed by the huge attendance at the People’s Choice competition. We are not sure that records are kept of People’s Choice competitions, but I think the California BBQ Association can justifiable claim a world record for the sheer size of the effort here. Thousands of people participated from Friday to Sunday to the point that they ran out of tickets and had to quickly get a resupply. In other words, more than most anybody had anticipated.

Since our KCBS trailer was right in the middle of the BBQ teams, we had more people seeing our trailer, stopping for literature and coupons, tasting our food samples, and stopping and talking than we have had at any stop. Bottom line is a truly successful festival for us, the BBQ teams and the organizers in Indio. The BBQ competition was organized by the California BBQ Association and they deserve many kudos for the success of the BBQ events and the size of the People’s Choice operation.

The travel schedule printed on the back door of our trailer easily got the most attention from the public. Many people took pictures of the schedule each day, and it was a source of interest for many people to stop and talk with us.

As we have traveled, you may remember us mentioning issues with tornado warnings, heavy thunder storms, a big hotel sign that fell in an overnight storm and crashed down about 75 feet from our parked trailer. Well the excitement continued in Indio when someone threw hot coals into a dumpster containing cardboard which immediately caught fire about 8 feet from the corner of our trailer. Lots of people came running with fire extinguishers, water, and even ice to put on the fire. One of our extinguishers was among those used to put out the flames. No damage to our trailer thanks to a breeze that blew the flames away from us. And as a bonus, the festival even gave us replacement extinguishers this morning to replace all of those used. Not sure what excitement is left for us. We will try to avoid pestilence and plague!

Another neat thing that happened at Indio was that the award ceremonies for the BBQ events were all announced using our stage and sound system. We would encourage any contest organizers who might read this to consider doing that as well. We have a good sound system and it is a great chance for the teams to see the Great American BBQ trailer up close.

Long days at this festival. We spent two 14 hour days and one 12 hour day at the festival, and tomorrow we start the four-day, 2,060 mile trip back to Tennessee. Our trailer is packed and ready to go, but we cannot have our truck on the festival grounds until after they close at midnight tonight. We will opt to go back first thing in the morning to pick it up and be on our way.

Many thanks to the teams at Indio, the organizers, and the Contest Reps who made us very welcome and added to the fun of our stay in California!

Linda and Ernie
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